Ethereum is a Non-Security Commodity: CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz

Divya  |  Aug 16, 2021

Attorney Jeremy Hogan recently took to Twitter and asked the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler to issue a clarification about Ethereum’s status. While Gensler is yet to answer his question, CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz has already offered an opinion. 

CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz Asserts Ethereum Is a Commodity

In his tweet, Hogan requested Gensler to clarify whether ETH, the native token of Ethereum blockchain, is a security.  His message contained a previous post from the SEC chair, where he emphasized the importance of regulations for crypto adoption.

At the time of writing, Hogan’s post -- which was liked by over 4,300 people -- hasn’t been reacted to by Gensler himself. However, Brian Quintenz, a CFTC commissioner,  has already provided his assessment of the situation. 

On Aug 14, Quintenz took note of Hogan’s question and stated that both the SEC and CFTC share jurisdiction on futures contracts tied to securities. But he pointed out that derivatives based on pure commodities are regulated only by the CFTC. 

Additionally, he noted that there is currently one futures contract on ETH, which falls solely under CFTC’s purview. This means that Ethereum should be treated as a “non-security commodity.”

Notably, Quintenz made headlines a few days back, when he tweeted that the SEC had no authority on pure commodities, including cryptocurrencies. The CFTC commissioner said:

“Just so we’re all clear here, the SEC has no authority over pure commodities or their trading venues, whether those commodities are wheat, gold, oil….or crypto assets.”

Lack of Clarity Allows Selective Enforcement: Hogan

In a later tweet, Hogan stated that the lack of clarity around crypto’s regulatory status allows for selective enforcement. He also alleged that the SEC has no incentive for infusing clarity in this area. 

According to Hogan, there are two reasons that deter the SEC from establishing “clear criteria”. The first is that it’s not designed to enforce all violations. And the second is that the arbitrariness of this entire subject gives the agency more power. 

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