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In Case You Missed It: CFTC Chairman Tarbert Comments On Cryptocurrency Regulation At Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit

Date 10/10/2019

Today at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit in New York City, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath P. Tarbert participated in a wide-ranging interview on cryptocurrency regulation and other CFTC agenda items. Full video and highlights from the event are below:


Watch video of Chairman Tarbert’s interview with Yahoo! Finance’s Scott Gamm 

Chairman Tarbert on Ether’s Status as a Commodity:

“We’ve been very clear on bitcoin: bitcoin is a commodity under the Commodity Exchange Act. We haven’t said anything about ether – until now. It is my view as Chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity, and therefore it will be regulated under the CEA. And my guess is that you will see, in the near future, ether-related futures contracts and other derivatives potentially traded … It’s my conclusion as Chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity and therefore would fall under our jurisdiction.

On the Treatment of Forked Assets:

“It stands to reason that similar assets should be treated similarly. So if the original digital asset hasn’t been determined to be a security and is therefore a commodity, most likely the forked asset will be the same – unless the fork itself raises some securities law issues under that classic Howey Test.”

On the Importance of U.S. Leadership for Fintech Innovation:

“One of the things I’d like to say because this is my first big public appearance as Chairman is that I wanted to stress the importance of blockchain and digital assets to the United States and in particular as CFTC Chairman, I want the U.S. to lead in this technology. I don’t want another country to leadI want the United States to lead because whoever leads in this technology is going to end up writing the rules of the game. So then we come to the question ‘well what is the role of the CFTC?’ And it’s very interesting because I think the CFTC’s role is to ensure that there’s integrity in the markets and we want these markets to develop in way that has integrity.”

“LabCFTC is set up to essentially address that potential gulf between a Washington regulator that has historically focused on commodity markets that are very different than digital assets … and also be a link to Silicon Valley and to other areas of the country who are working on these solutions. So LabCFTC is a place where people can come and get to know about the CFTC-regulated world but we’re speaking the same language. I am pleased to announce today that we have a new director of LabCFTC, Melissa Netram, and she comes from Intuit. This is part of my philosophy that you can’t really be a good regulator unless you are hiring people who actually know and understand these markets.”

On the Volcker Rule Amendments to Lessen the Regulatory Burden on Main St.:

“We’ve lived with the Volcker Rule for a decade now … The major problem was that the Volcker Rule was really intended to affect, I think, a very small subgroup of banks, money-centered banks that were engaging in proprietary trading, but it effectively applied to community and regional banks …So we fixed it. The Volcker Rule still applies, the ultimate prohibition, the statute obviously is the law, but it applies in a way that is a lot more thoughtful and streamlined.”