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CFTC Says Virtual Currencies Are Commodities: First Reactions

Financial Regulation

CFTC Says Virtual Currencies Are Commodities: First Reactions

Today the U.S. Commodity Futures Commission (CFTC) announced that a federal court order has given it the power to prosecute fraud involving virtual currencies.  According to the September 26th ruling, digital currency My Big Coin (MBC) was determined to be a commodity because the CFTC alleged that MBC “is a virtual currency and it is undisputed that there is futures trading in virtual currencies (specifically involving Bitcoin).”

Dustin Byington, CEO of Security Token focused company TWO12, provided his reaction aimed at U.S. based issuers:

Based on Byington’s interpretation of the ruling, virtual currencies that are not classified as securities by the SEC (namely Bitcoin and Ether) are considered commodities. These tokens would fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the CFTC, which has thus far been more hands off with a “wait and see” approach to their regulation of this asset class.

For tokens that are structured like traditional securities, Byington expects those to be regulated by the SEC, but that innovation is still very possible, especially with SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s recent statements:

Overall, he takes this ruling and subsequent news as a positive step:

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