US Commodities Futures Trading Commission To Focus On Cryptocurrencies As Stated In Its 2019 Examination Priorities

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The Commodities Futures Trading Commission has released its first examination priorities report for the year 2019. In the report, the CFTC stated that the cryptocurrency industry is one of its subjects for internal examinations this year. The commission will be looking into various aspects of cryptocurrencies through different divisions like the Division of Clearing & Risk (DCR), Division of Market Oversight (DMO), and the Division of Swap Dealer & Intermediary Oversight (DSIO). Keep in mind that last year, the chairman of the CFTC said that they will increase cryptocurrency surveillance this year.

The February 12th press release stated that the commission will focus on the surveillance practices of the cryptocurrency market. It would carry out real-time monitoring of the market. J. Christopher Giancarlo, the chairman of the CFTC had this to say about the report:

“I commend DCR, DMO and DSIO staff and leadership for their work in increasing transparency in our agenda to make sure that registered market participants use resources that comply with our regulatory priorities.”

CFTC, SEC And Cryptocurrencies

This move by the CFTC comes at a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission is putting a lot of pressure on the cryptocurrency industry. Members of the cryptocurrency community have expressed mixed opinions about the methods being employed by the US regulators. Both regulatory bodies are trying to oversee an environment that they honestly should have no business in. This is because, until now, there hasn’t been a clear definition of what cryptocurrencies are. The CFTC defines cryptocurrencies are commodities while the SEC gets involved because they believe cryptocurrencies are securities. On an entirely different note, the IRS considers cryptocurrencies as currency. This regulatory unclarity is taking a toll on the industry. George Nethercutt, a former Republican Representative had this to say about the actions by regulators:

“This has slowed down innovation and left many businesses in America in regulatory limbo, especially regarding the issue of cryptocurrency definition. The matter of whether or not tokens are securities has been a problem for a long time.”

This isn’t the first time cryptocurrency is getting into the radar of certifying bodies. The CFA Institute, last July, announced that the cryptocurrency industry will be a priority in its 2019 examinations.

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Cryptocurrencies, by nature, are not meant to be controlled by centralized bodies. However, for the sake of the average investor, there is a need for a good regulatory framework for the industry. Unfortunately, the existing regulatory authorities in the country do not have what it takes to properly oversee the industry. The rules and regulations that currently apply to other assets may not be applicable in the cryptocurrency industry. A government that is truly interested in exploring the industry needs to make a move to create a regulatory body simply for this new asset class. It should neither be regulated by the SEC, the CFTC or even the IRS.

Do you think the CFTC’s regulation of cryptocurrencies will boost or hinder the progress of cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology? Share your opinion in the comment section.

Max writes about blockchain projects and regulation with a special focus on United States and China. He joined Smarterum after years of writing for various media outlets.


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