CFTC Chair Promises Big Crypto Regulation


May 9, 2023


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Futures and Commodities Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Rostin Behnam promises changes. Benham assures that 2023 will be a milestone for regulatory enforcement. The chairman assures the law will come down on all non-compliant crypto projects. Yet, this clashes with the SEC's position. Is there war in sight?

Speaking at the American Bar Association, Behnam praised his agency's digital compliance actions to date. According to the CFTC chairman, the agency is more determined than ever to crack down on bad actors this year.

According to Behnam, the agency imposed more than $2.5B in restitution, disgorgement, and civil monetary penalties in 2022. Of this number, one-fifth of all enforcement actions were crypto-related.

While this is no small amount, Benham believes it could and should have been much more. But the CFTC has very little authority on the subject, and its position clashes with that of the SEC.

While Benham's CFTC advocates new regulation, Gary Gensler's SEC prefers to enforce existing laws.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected applications for bitcoin exchange-traded funds. According to the SEC, the crypto market is easily manipulated — approving a bitcoin ETF would only hurt users. Also, SEC chair Gary Gensler believes that current securities laws are sufficient to regulate the industry.

Rostin Benham disagrees. Benham thinks the industry needs comprehensive regulation to prevent failures of global size.

At the hearing on the FTX crash on 1 December, Benham called on Congress to expand the CFTC's authority. However, there is still a long way to go before Congress passes something like this.

Are the SEC and CFTC at war? Not at all — these are just misunderstandings. We can only hope that the regulation will be positive and not prohibitive.