CFTC Chair Urges Congress for Crypto Regulation Overhaul

Rostin Behnam, Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), emphasized the critical need for legislative action to clearly define regulatory authorities in the cryptocurrency sector. Behnam highlighted the volatility in Bitcoin prices as a clear indicator of the emerging challenges within the crypto industry. He firmly believes that the idea of cryptocurrencies fading away is a misconception. Instead, he anticipates a surge in market enthusiasm that could surpass previous highs.

Behnam’s appeal for legislative intervention specifically targets the classification and regulation of bitcoin and ether, which together dominate a significant portion of the market’s total value. These cryptocurrencies, according to Behnam, account for 60 to 70% of the entire crypto market capitalization, underscoring the urgency for regulatory clarity.

The conversation took place during an annual session that also covered the CFTC’s budget needs for the upcoming year. The discussion shed light on the Financial Innovation and Technology Act for the 21st Century (FIT Act), a proposal that previously progressed through the House Agriculture and Financial Services Committees without reaching a vote. Behnam expressed confidence in the CFTC’s ability to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework within a year should Congress enact the FIT Act.

Additionally, Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) sought clarity on the criteria used to classify cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as commodities. Behnam responded, explaining that the commodity status of bitcoin primarily serves to distinguish it from other asset classifications.

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