The third week of the year will very likely prove to be its most significant for cryptocurrency innovators and investors. Crypto scored a hat trick with news that President Joe Biden’s three top financial regulators—the chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the bank-overseeing Comptroller of the Currency—will all be intimately familiar with the cryptocurrency and blockchain business.
Retiring CFTC Chair Heath Tarbert again calls ether a commodity
Among his top accomplishments at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Tarbert included having ‘promoted responsible fintech innovation and declared Ether a commodity’
Speaking at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit in New York in October 2019, Tarbert said, “we've been very clear on bitcoin: bitcoin is a commodity. We haven't said anything about ether—until now. It is my view as chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity.”
BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes facing jail for AML violations
The derivatives exchange’s founder has been charged with violating anti-money-laundering laws by the U.S. Attorney, and sued by that CFTC for the same thing
Hayes, along with the Seychelles-based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange’s co-founders Benjamin Delo, Samuel Reed, and head of business development Gregory Dwyer have been charged with violating the Bank Secrecy Act and conspiring to violate the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to put sufficient anti-money-laundering safeguards in place. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
CFTC’s new strategic goals are good news for crypto… and bad
The commission wants a ‘holistic framework’ to promote innovation in digital assets, but it also plans to come down hard on those who break the rules
The goal that will be of most interest to crypto-focused firms is the third one: to encourage innovation and enhance the regulatory experience for market participants at home and abroad. This will undoubtedly be music to the ears of international businesses that have ended up being bogged down with red tape and regulatory uncertainty.