CFTC doesn’t have authority to regulate cash crypto markets, chairman says
However, the agency will regulate crypto assets that it considers commodities.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Rostin Benham said on May 18 that his agency cannot regulate cash crypto markets.
In an interview on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast, Benham said:
“[We] don’t have legal authority to police cash crypto markets. We do have this very limited authority within the CFTC to police cash markets if there’s fraud or manipulation.”
However, Benham also made it clear that the CFTC will regulate the sector in other ways. He commented on various incidents in the crypto industry that occurred in 2022 and said that he believes it is his duty within the CFTC to protect investors.
He said many cryptocurrency tokens are commodity financial assets and said that the CFTC can apply regulations, notices and advisories, and enforcement actions.
Those statements echo Benham’s earlier comments in March, when he said that several crypto assets including Ethereum and stablecoins are commodities.
Benham also said today that although cryptocurrency “presents new and novel issues,” past approaches to policy can be applied to the asset class.
The CFTC’s authority over the cryptocurrency sector and related markets is important, as the commission is one of two U.S. government agencies aiming to regulate the space alongside the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
SEC chair Gary Gensler has said that the CFTC should regulate certain assets as long it does not override the SEC’s authority. Benham, meanwhile, has said that the CFTC should regulate assets that are not considered securities.