CFTC ‘to Prioritize’ Cryptocurrency in 2019


The United States’ Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced that it will examine cryptocurrencies as a priority in 2019, as per a February 12 press release.

This is the first time the regulatory body has published its divisional internal examination priorities. According to the announcement, the CFTC will include crypto-related aspects in its Division of Market Oversight (DMO), Division of Swap Dealer & Intermediary Oversight (DSIO), and Division of Clearing & Risk (DCR) papers.

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Commenting on this move, the CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo said: “I commend DMO, DSIO and DCR leadership and staff for their work to bring additional transparency into the CFTC agenda in order to ensure that registered market participants devote adequate compliance resources consistent with our regulatory priorities.”

“This first-ever publication of division examination priorities is in line with Project KISS and other agency initiatives to improve the relationship between the agency and the entities it regulates while promoting a culture of compliance at our registrants.”

Under the divisions, the regulator will study cryptocurrency surveillance practices, trade, and market surveillance practices, along with real-time monitoring practices of the market. The study will also focus on the protection of customers’ funds.

The US Regulatory Scene

In the US, a tug-of-war is going between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to get control over the digital asset market. Currently, only Bitcoin and Ethereum fall under the purview of the CFTC while a major section is the tokens are assessed by the SEC.

Moreover, unlike most regulatory agencies, the CFTC chairman Giancarlo is a proponent of cryptocurrencies. After his strong advocacy for cryptocurrencies in front of Congress last year, he became a popular figure in the crypto community and earned the title of ‘Cryptodad.’

In December 2018, two US lawmakers tabled a bipartisan bill before the Congress to exclude cryptocurrencies from the standard securities law amending the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

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