Something needs to get done to regulate crypto, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Rostin Behnam said on a podcast this week, adding that the “fix” could be getting Congress to pass legislation.
“The market seems to want some sort of regulatory framework,” Behnam said on Monday during a podcast hosted by the Intercontinental Exchange. “You can imagine institutional demand would probably increase if there was a clear regulatory framework.”
“But for me, we think about the retail participation, I think about our enforcement track record over a decade certainly preceding me. And I think it's pretty clear evidence that something needs to get done,” he added, citing fraud and manipulation concerns.
Lawmakers have drafted and passed some bills to regulate crypto, including one that is teed up for a vote in the full House that would give the CFTC more power. The bill, titled the “Fit for the 21st Century Act,” is being led by House Republicans who say the bill will close the gaps between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Commodities or securities?
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said legislation is not necessary and that existing securities laws regulate crypto, while noting that most cryptocurrencies are securities. Meanwhile, Behnam said on Monday that 70 percent of the market are commodities.
“The fix is hopefully getting legislation out of Congress that would fill the gap around commodity tokens,” Behnam said in the podcast with ICE Chief Communications Officer Josh King
Both agencies need to work together to regulate crypto, Behnam said.
“I'm encouraged by the questions from members of Congress, by the hearings, by the markups. One or two of them happened last week, and the momentum that's happening, and I think clear recognition that if we don't do something collectively, we're going to continue to have these crises,” Behnam said. “We're going to continue to have customer losses.”
Delisting bitcoin futures
King and Behnam also spoke about bitcoin products on Monday. King said some bitcoin futures contracts had been delisted recently.
“Interestingly, we've just delisted the futures contracts for Bitcoin from Bakkt this week. We thought there'd be a market, there wasn't,” King said.
The comments came as crypto exchange Coinbase obtained regulatory approval this week to offer crypto futures trading services to eligible customers in the U.S.
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