In a recent CNBC interview, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam declared most crypto assets as commodities under current law.
Behnam stated that under current laws in the U.S., most crypto assets are considered commodities, a standpoint that sheds light on their regulatory status.
However, Behnam highlighted an ongoing “turf war” among U.S. regulatory bodies, notably between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), over the authority to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. This conflict poses significant challenges in establishing clear regulatory guidelines for digital assets.
Despite these challenges, the U.S. remains a global leader in cryptocurrency alongside countries like Australia and Brazil. Nonetheless, the lack of regulatory clarity and continuous enforcement actions against crypto businesses are discouraging factors for enterprises operating in the region.
Behnam’s views on crypto regulation differ from those of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who asserts that crypto intermediaries should fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction as they transact in securities. Despite their differing opinions, Behnam emphasized a positive working relationship with the SEC, with both agencies focusing on protecting U.S. markets, the financial ecosystem, and consumers.
At a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in March, Behnam reiterated that various digital assets, including Ethereum and stablecoins, are commodities. This classification aligns with the CFTC‘s previous stance, as evident in their December 2021 lawsuit against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, where Bitcoin, Ether, and Tether were categorized as commodities.