December 4, 2022

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CFTC Introduces Office of Technology Innovation

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is one of the top U.S. crypto regulators, is bolstering its regulatory power with the new Office of Technology Innovation, according to remarks from CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam Monday (July 25).

Behnam said this new office would grow from what used to be the agency’s LabCFTC, a FinTech team.

He noted there were several reasons for the shift, including the scale of the market, retail investor vulnerability and recent setbacks in the crypto industry. As such, he said there is a greater need for regulation, adding that while legislators in Congress are working on their own plans, the CFTC wanted to address crypto and the various issues on its own.

“Regulators must be nimble, and new challenges may require us to dig deeper, take a different look into how our organic statutes promote our growth alongside the markets we regulate,” Behnam said. “In the absence of new legislative authority, we at the CFTC continue to look at how we can work to protect markets and investors within the bounds of our existing authority.”

The CFTC release noted that the office will be staffed by specialists. Existing CFTC employees will also be able to cycle through and get more experience with the sector.

In June, PYMNTS wrote that Sens. Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand had put forward a bill that would give regulatory authority over crypto markets to the CFTC and create a “complete regulatory framework” for digital assets.

See also: CFTC Director Tells Congress the Agency Is Ready for More Crypto Oversight

At the time, the senators said that “most digital assets are much more similar to commodities than securities, so the bill gives the CFTC clear authority over applicable digital asset spot markets, which aligns well with their current purview over other commodity markets.”

“Digital assets that meet the definition of a commodity, such as bitcoin and ether, which comprise more than half of digital asset market capitalization, will be regulated by the CFTC,” they said.

However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would have authority over assets considered securities under the bill.

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