A new crypto bill introduced by John Boozman – a republican from Arkansas – and Debbi Stabenow, a democrat from Michigan, would (if passed) give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) full control over bitcoin and Ethereum, the world’s two largest and most popular digital currencies.
The CFTC Would Have Most of the Power
In the bill, both ETH and BTC are clearly described as commodities. In addition, they account for roughly two thirds of all activity in the digital currency arena. Thus, by giving power over these two entities to the CFTC, that agency would have a heavy amount of control when it came to crypto regulation in the coming months and years.
For the remainder of the coins on today’s market, control and oversight powers would be evenly divided between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though it’s not clear at the time of writing which coins would be under whose jurisdiction.
Crypto regulation appears to be at the top of every congressional representative’s priority list as of late. Not long ago, a new bill was introduced by Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Kristen Gillibrand of New York that would ultimately shape the future of crypto regulation and how bills would be worded.
In addition, Joe Biden issued a crypto executive order a few months ago calling for financial agencies throughout America to examine and study both the benefits and disadvantages of crypto assets. The order also potentially opened the door to a digital version of the U.S. dollar.
Under the new bill, any online platforms or exchanges that allowed investors to trade digital assets would have to register with the CFTC. Stabenow says her reason for writing and introducing the bill has to do with the lack of transparency that exists in the crypto space today. She also says all crypto companies must be accountable and keep investors safe.
That’s why we are closing regulatory gaps and requiring that these markets operate under straightforward rules that protect customers and keep our financial system safe.
Two other congressmen – senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and John Thune of South Dakota – have agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Boozman said he is confident the bill will pass given it calls for the handing over of much of the power in the industry to a single organization, the CFTC. He said:
It makes it a lot easier on members when you don’t have friends who are all over the place.
Could This Actually Work?
Todd Phillips – director of financial regulation and corporate governance at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress – was enthusiastic about the bill, saying:
It provides a regulatory structure around crypto commodities without taking away authority from other agencies, like the SEC. It specifically requires the registration and regulation of brokers.