Heath Tarbert, the new chair of the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission, has signaled that he supports blockchain technology. J. Christopher Giancarlo, the former chair, was the first to establish this supportive stance towards the technology at the CFTC. The comments were made during a recent CNBC interview. He said he favored the technology and he did not want to take any measures that might stifle its development.
The chair did note that he wanted the industry regulated properly. He noted that the technology, which powers Bitcoin and other digital coins, holds a lot of promise. In his opinion, it would be a mistake to let other nations such as China or other competitors advance in this field while the US was held back due to a lack of regulation.
While crypto coins have been given varying definitions by other government agencies, the CFTC has classified digital assets like crypto as commodities. As a result, it has invoked the right to regulate things such as Bitcoin futures, which have been launched by a number of firms in the US. The chair acknowledged that the demand for BTC was still quite low compared to what they usually saw for other asset classes. However, he noted that the CFTC foresaw a lot of growth in the future.
Major Developments in the Commodities Sector
One of the most recent developments concerning crypto is the launch of physically-backed BTC futures trading by Bakkt. What was even more significant about this launch is that Bakkt is part of the Intercontinental Exchange, which is the company that is behind the NYSE. The Bitcoin futures on Bakkt have received modest attention from traders thus far. However, this may be in line with the falling demand for crypto across exchanges in the recent past.
Harsh Crypto Regulation
The low uptake of the Bitcoin futures is quite important due to the claims made by pundits in the crypto world during the 2017 Bull Run. At the time, it was claimed that institutional investors were waiting for positive signals from regulators before they began pouring money by the truckloads into the crypto world.
However, this has not happened. In fact, it appears the regulatory environment for crypto has grown more hostile. Even the Trump administration has been quite hostile to the idea of cryptocurrency. The administration has taken various steps to track down and jail those engaged in crime using crypto. In July, Trump tweeted that he was not a fan of BTC. He added that he did not believe crypto was money. Nobody really knew what spiked this response from Trump, but we had some opinions on the matter.
When the Facebook Libra was announced, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were quite alarmed. They have since held a number of hearings, during which they have requested that the project be put on hold.
Upon the expiry of his five-year term at the CFTC, the former chair joined the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Board of Advisors. This body states that it is the first global trade organization for the digital assets and blockchain community. The organization has its headquarters in Washington, DC.
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