CFTC Chair calls for more regulation of cryptocurrency markets

The Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, delivered a speech in Naples, Italy, on Jan. 26, 2024, in which he expressed his concerns about the current state of regulation of the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry.

Behnam said that regulators need to ramp up their efforts to supervise the budding cryptocurrency industry, especially after the approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

He warned that the approval of Bitcoin ETPs does not imply that the cryptocurrency sector is regulated, and that there are still many challenges and regulatory gaps in the rapidly evolving digital asset landscape.

Rostin Behnam

He urged the need for comprehensive federal oversight of the cash markets of digital assets, which he said are critical for market integrity, investor protection, and financial stability.

He pointed out the risks and uncertainties stemming from the lack of regulation, such as trade settlement, conflicts of interest, data reporting, cybersecurity, and customer protections.

He also said that the regulatory void leads to opaque and inconsistent practices in the cryptocurrency market, which could undermine public trust and confidence in the emerging technology.

Behnam also highlighted the CFTC’s proactive efforts in policing the crypto space, noting that nearly half of all CFTC actions filed in Fiscal Year 2023 were related to digital asset commodities.

He said that the CFTC is committed to enforcing compliance within its jurisdiction, and to collaborating with other regulators and stakeholders to develop a coherent and effective regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry.

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