Congress Should Grant the SEC Oversight of Digital Asset Spot Markets

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has classified Bitcoin and Ether – and by extension other cryptocurrencies that are similarly structured – as commodities (courts have also upheld this classification). While the CFTC regulates commodity derivatives, they do not regulate commodity spot markets, although they do have enforcement authority for fraud and manipulation in commodity spot markets. The practical effect of this structure is that cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. are not regulated at the federal level (they are required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and obtain state money transmitter licenses). This glaring weakness in digital … Read more

Bitcoin Futures: From Self-Certification to Systemic Risk

December 2017 marked a milestone in the short history of virtual currency. On Friday, December 1, 2017, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) and the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) self-certified new contracts for cash-settled bitcoin futures products. The self-certification process allows designated contract markets (DCMs) to list new derivative products one day after submitting in writing to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that the product complies with the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.

Prior to December 2017, there were limited options for investors that wanted access to bitcoin derivatives. In 2014, TeraExchange, LLC, a Swap Execution Facility … Read more