Acting Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Rostin Behnam. Photo by CFTC. Art by Mike Sullivan.
Crypto Global

The Tussle to be Crypto’s Top Cop—and Top Dog

Photo: Acting Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Rostin Behnam. Photo by CFTC. Art by Mike Sullivan.

There’s no doubt that regulatory scrutiny is growing for crypto in the U.S., but it’s still unclear which government agency will have ultimate authority over the industry. That future became even cloudier Wednesday when Rostin Behnam, acting head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said the agency is prepared to become the main regulator of digital assets. 

The comments position the agency into direct conflict with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Chair Gary Gensler has also pitched the SEC to be crypto’s top boss. And both he and Behnam have asked Congress to grant them more authority to govern the space. Gensler has urged crypto exchanges to register with the SEC, and the regulator threatened to sue Coinbase if it released a crypto lending product. The CTFC has also tussled with crypto companies, including Tether Holdings, which the regulator ordered to pay $41 million in fines earlier this month. 

Were the SEC or CFTC granted primary authority over the crypto industry, it may not sit well with companies, especially Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based crypto exchange by trading volume. The company released a policy proposal in October stating that the U.S. should create a new, crypto-focused regulator to oversee the industry. 

Here’s what else is going on….

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