In an interview at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit, CFTC Chair Heath P. Tarbert declared that Ethereum is a commodity under the Commodity Exchange Act, and said that the agency is still considering the regulatory status of Libra. He also commented on U.S. leadership in blockchain and digital assets innovation, recent amendments to the Volcker Rule and issues related to Brexit.
Mr. Tarbert considered questions related to the Howey Test, and emphasized that:
Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, is a commodity under the Commodity Exchange Act and, therefore, falls under CFTC jurisdiction; and
unless a "forked asset" (i.e., a cryptocurrency derived from an existing crypto-asset) raises securities law issues under the Howey Test, it should be treated the same as other digital assets.
He also stated that:
it is imperative that the United States remains a leader in FinTech innovation, as such leadership will allow the United States to write the market rules;
LabCFTC is intended to bridge the gap between Washington regulators trained in traditional commodity markets and "very different" markets in digital assets, as well as being a link to Silicon Valley;
LabCFTC just hired a new Director, Melissa Netram, formerly of Intuit;
the recent amendments to the Volcker Rule are a "recalibration" and not a "revocation," and should ease the compliance burdens on smaller community and regional banks; and
the CFTC spent a year "replicating" current European rule agreements and equivalence arrangements in order to be prepared for Brexit.
The SEC, CFTC and Federal Reserve adopted an interagency final rule intended to simplify the Volcker Rule.
The CFTC appointed Melissa Netram to serve as Director of the LabCFTC.
At a Technology Advisory Committee meeting, CFTC Commissioners considered recommendations for improving regulatory compliance through better integration of technology.
CFTC Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz urged the agency to enhance regulatory oversight by incorporating emerging technology.
LabCFTC Director Daniel Gorfine outlined key challenges involved in the regulation of FinTech.
LabCFTC Chief Innovation Officer and Director Daniel Gorfine encouraged "all levels of leadership" within business and the government to improve technological literacy.
CFTC Chief Innovation Officer and Director of LabCFTC Daniel Gorfine asserted that the LabCFTC initiative was intended to "make the CFTC more accessible to FinTech innovators" and to "inform the [CFTC]'s understanding of emerging technologies."
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System issued a proposal aimed at simplifying and tailoring compliance with the Volcker Rule.
Cadwalader attorneys reviewed the recent Federal Reserve proposal to revamp regulations implementing the Volcker Rule.
Cadwalader partners summarized key provisions of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.