On the 1st of December 2022, Michael Saylor, the chairman of MicroStrategy and an ardent advocate of Bitcoin, shared a tweet about the chairman of CFTC, who believes bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency currently classified as a commodity.
Today at Princeton, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam said that the only cryptocurrency that should be viewed as a commodity is #Bitcoin, walking back from previous remarks made in October when he suggested Ether may also be a commodity.https://t.co/o5NrejDVaU
— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) December 1, 2022
The chairman of the commodity futures trading commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, called for regulating the crypto industry. This was at Princeton’s blockchain-focused institute, which is funded by both Princeton’s alumni and major players in the crypto industry.
Behnam was called out for his relationship with former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-fried and their multiple discussions to expand the crypto trading space. He was also supposed to be the benefactor of the digital commodities consumer protection act (DCCPA), which was championed by sam’s lobbying.
The act was going to increase CFTC’s funding opportunities and oversight jurisdiction. During the occasion, Behnam complained about the limited resources at his disposal while calling on legislators and policymakers to move quickly in regulating the crypto space.
He also mentioned that regulating the crypto space would be difficult because it is unlike any other past commodity they have dealt with. This led to the question of what a commodity is and whether cryptocurrencies can be classified as commodities.
Contrary to what he had said earlier, Behnam now supports the position that only Bitcoin can be considered a commodity under CFTC. In October this year, he believed that Bitcoin and Ethereum could be considered commodities under the CFTC.
This was during the power tussle between the CFTC and the SEC over the jurisdiction of the crypto space. Though the tussle was a source of confusion to crypto investors, one thing seemed to be agreed upon at the time: Bitcoin and Ethereum are commodities.
After the Ethereum merger, which moved the project from a proof of work protocol to a proof of stake protocol, the SEC decided to re-evaluate the ETH token using Howey’s test. If ETH passes that test, it will be viewed as a security under the SEC jurisdiction, similar to projects like Ripple.
Finally, the two agencies dispelled any belief that they were in conflict and incapable of working together, pointing out a track record of collaboration.
Yet Behnam’s stand on regulation is what the SEC considers as “too light.” He believes that regulation should also take into account innovation and entrepreneurship. But they cannot sit back and let the technology develop independently.