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- CFTC chair Rostin Benham retracts to previous statements, saying Ether is a security.
- The CFTC has been lobbying for more oversight of the crypto market.
Rostin Benham, the chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has said that Bitcoin (BTC) is the only cryptocurrency that is a commodity. His comments suggest that Ethereum (ETH) could be a security.
The CEO of Microstrategy, Michael Saylor, denoted this in a tweet citing Benham’s remarks during an invitation-only crypto event at Princeton University. Saylor, an ardent Bitcoin maximalist, shared that the CFTC chair has now walked back on remarks he made in October when he suggested that Ether may also be a commodity.
Today at Princeton, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam said that the only cryptocurrency that should be viewed as a commodity is #Bitcoin, walking back from previous remarks made in October when he suggested Ether may also be a commodity.https://t.co/o5NrejDVaU
— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) December 1, 2022
While speaking at the symposium hosted by Rutgers Law, Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, and Lowenstein Sandler in Manhattan at the time, Benham had stated that contrary to what its sister regulator—the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—maintains, Ether is a commodity and should be regulated by his commission.
Benham’s latest stance on Ether possibly being a security would imply that the ETH market would be completely under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Meanwhile, during the Princeton presentation, Benham also asserted that the crypto market needs regulations now more than ever.
Fortune reports that Benham emphasized the dangers of an unregulated crypto market during the event organized by Princeton’s DeCenter, a blockchain-focused institute funded by crypto titans and Princeton alumni, including Joseph Lubin, Michael Novogratz, Peter Briger Jr., and Daniel Morehead, who were all present.
Benham defended the CFTC’s actions towards the crypto market saying that the asset class is “unlike any commodity we have dealt with.” He added that the CFTC with its limited resources does not have the luxury of waiting for lawmakers and policymakers to provide clarity before acting.
Meanwhile, he also rebuffed criticisms that the CFTC has faced for its connection with former FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, who allegedly donated thousands of dollars to the regulator.
CFTC fighting for more crypto oversight powers
The event is not the first time that Benham has called on law/policymakers to speed up regulatory clarity for digital assets. The CFTC chair has been calling for Congress to give the regular more oversight powers over certain cryptocurrencies, as well as increase the commission’s budget to help it carry out its duties in the crypto market.
Its push, which has received backing even from the SEC chair Gensler who recently stated that the CFTC should have oversight of stablecoins, has seen several bills introduced in Congress aimed at broadening the CFTC’s jurisdiction.
Back in September, a bill introduced by the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and senior Republican, John Boozman (R-Ark.) took a procedural step towards being passed into law as Stacey Plaskett, a House of Representatives lawmaker, introduced a bill supporting the effort per coverage from Bloomberg.