The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) seeks an additional $100 million to take on responsibilities in regulating the crypto market. Rostin Behnam, the CFTC chair, said the commission can play an increasingly central role in overseeing the cash digital asset commodity market.
Behnam acknowledged that the continued emergence of digital asset technology comes with risks and opportunities. But the CFTC is ready to leverage its expertise and experience to tackle both. In his testimony to the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, the chair outlined the ways in which the agency is uniquely positioned to oversee the digital asset market.
Behnam emphasized that digital assets should be viewed as commodities. This was a nod to the ongoing power struggle between the CFTC and SEC on who gets to regulate crypto. However, this has brought the question of whether digital assets are commodities or securities into the spotlight. A number of companies want CFTC to play a bigger role. But Coinbase, crypto exchange platform, wants a brand-new regulator to be established only for digital assets.
Debbie Stabenow, the Agriculture Committee chairwoman, and other committee members had sent a letter to Behnam last month, saying that bitcoin and ether – the two largest digital assets by market capitalization are commodities. This shows that the committee is likely to give more regulatory power to CFTC.
However, Gary Gensler the chair of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) believes that many crypto assets are securities. He says cryptocurrencies, with the exception of bitcoin, fall under the purview of SEC. It should be noted that the CFTC has been regulating bitcoin.