Senators introduce bill establishing CFTC regime for crypto exchanges

Quick Take

  • Four members of the Senate Agriculture Committee have introduced a bill that would establish a mandatory CFTC regime for crypto exchanges. 
  • The bill’s support is bipartisan, but its fate in the broader Congress — particularly committees overseeing the SEC — is uncertain. 

Four Senators from the Agriculture Committee have introduced legislation to establish a regulatory regime for crypto exchanges — at least some of them. 

On August 3, Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and John Boozman of Arkansas ⁠— the leading Democrat and Republican, respectively, on the Agriculture Committee ⁠— introduced the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022. Fellow committee members Cory Booker, D-N.J., and John Thune, R-S.D., co-sponsored the bill.

The bill would establish a legal definition for digital commodities and place their trading under the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. An overview of the bill shared with The Block names Bitcoin and Ether as commodities but "excludes certain financial instruments including securities," leaving open a longstanding debate over which digital assets are securities

Stabenow and Boozman have been known to be working on the bill since at least early June. 

In the other chamber, Glenn "GT" Thompson of Pennsylvania, the leading Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, has introduced similar legislation that proposes a voluntary regulatory framework for commodity exchanges. Critically, committee chair David Scott, D-Ga., did not sign on. 


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However, both Agriculture Committees have been signaling overall favor towards crypto exchanges' push for regulation by the CFTC rather than Securities and Exchange Commission, which is larger and demands more extensive reporting.

The Agriculture Committees, for their part, oversee the CFTC but not the SEC, which answers to the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee. That means any new legislation that seeks to shift regulatory authority will have to go through those other committees, and they have not indicated much interest in reducing the SEC's statutory purview.

With midterm elections coming in November, the legislative calendar for any bills introduced in this Congress is also limited. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Kollen Post is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things policy and geopolitics from Washington, DC. That includes legislation and regulation, securities law and money laundering, cyber warfare, corruption, CBDCs, and blockchain’s role in the developing world. He speaks Russian and Arabic. You can send him leads at [email protected].