In an interview with the CNBC television network, the chairman of the US Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, described Ethereum and Bitcoin as commodities, and therefore they should be regulated in a similar manner to any other commodity.
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Bitcoin and Ethereum are seen as commodities according to the CFTC
Rostin Behnam, who was nominated by US President Joe Biden, was “sworn in as the 15th Chairman of the CFTC on 4 January 2022 after being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate”. Previously, “he served as CFTC Commissioner since September 2017”. Behnam was elected Acting Chairman – by the members of the Commission – on 21 January 2021.
Last Monday during a television interview with CNBC, Benham dwelt on the need for the US to quickly pass precise regulation on cryptocurrency markets.
Specifically, when asked whether he thought it was fair that the SEC be given responsibility for security tokens and his agency that of commodity tokens, he replied:
“This is a little bit of an age-old issue between the CFTC and the SEC. We have a great relationship historically … Within this space, in my view, it makes sense for commodities to be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and securities to be regulated by the SEC”.
The CFTC Chairman reiterated without uncertainty that in the cryptocurrency market, there is a difference between some that are to be considered securities and others that are to be considered commodities.
And it is for this reason that he reiterated the need for precise regulation that takes this differentiation into account. He went on to say that:
“And in my view, it makes sense to sort of parse through the two, and figure out where we can place each, and it’s going to be difficult because from a legislative standpoint, again, given what I said earlier, given the novelty of some of these coins and the technology, we’re going to have to figure out what will constitute a security under the traditional securities law and what would constitute more of a commodity so that we can regulate appropriately given the two different legal structures”.
The need for a clear differentiation between security tokens and commodities
When the reporter pointed out to him that Gary Gensler, the Chairman of the SEC, recently said that he considers most cryptocurrencies to be securities, he retorted that in his view both Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, should be considered commodities instead.
Benham, said in this regard:
“Well, I could say for sure Bitcoin, which is the largest of the coins and has always been the largest regardless of the total market cap… is a commodity. So Ether as well — I’ve argued this before, my predecessors have as well — is a commodity”.