In a court filing that was submitted on December 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) once again referred to Ether (ETH) as a commodity. This is in contrast to statements made by chief economist Rostin Behnam on November 30, in which he suggested that Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency that should be viewed as a commodity.
Ether, Bitcoin (BTC), and Tether (USDT), “among others,” are all referenced as “commodities” in the regulator’s complaint against Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX, and sister business Alameda Research. The regulator made these references many times over the course of the litigation.
However, it seems that there is significant controversy inside the CFTC itself as to whether or not Ether should be treated as a commodity, at least in relation to the most recent few weeks’ worth of events.
During a crypto event held on November 30 at Princeton University, CFTC chief Rostin Benham is said to have suggested that Bitcoin is the only crypto asset that should be viewed as a commodity. This represents a departure from previous comments made by Benham, in which he suggested that ether may also be a commodity.
In the past few months, Gary Gensler, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has also been unclear about what he thinks about Ether.
Gensler stated that Bitcoin was a commodity during an interview with Jim Cramer on the CNBC “Mad Money” programme on June 27. He added that “that’s the only one I’m going to say” in reference to his statement on Bitcoin.
In the past, Gensler has stated that Ether was a security following its first coin offering, but since that time, Ether has grown more decentralised and has transitioned into a commodity.
After Ether’s transfer to proof-of-stake (PoS) in September, his opinion seems to have altered again when he stated that staked tokens may represent securities according to the Howey test. This was after Ether’s switch to proof-of-stake (PoS).
The classification of crypto assets in the United States is of particular significance because the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is responsible for regulating commodity futures, whereas the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in charge of regulating securities such as bonds and stocks.
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