Today’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) oversight hearing by the Senate Agriculture Committee was broad in its remit as CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam provided an overview of the latest and greatest at his agency.
Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D, MI) opening remarks made clear digital assets were on the agenda with an allusion to recent events in digital assets such as the FTX implosion saying, “The massive customer losses caused by this misconduct highlight exactly why we need federal oversight of the crypto industry, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to hold crypto companies to the same rules as traditional financial firms.”
In spite of the beginning of the hearing, the Digital Commodity Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA) was barely discussed thereafter as was any new specific new digital assets legislation that could come out of Senate Ag.
Ranking Member Sen. Boozman (R, AR) followed with his opening remarks which were complimentary of the CFTC and Behnam. The remarks briefly touched on digital assets: “I am confident the CFTC is suitable for an expanded role in regulating the digital commodity spot market. I am committed to working with Chairwoman Stabenow and our colleagues to create the safeguards the market needs.” Also, Sen. Boozman said that he appreciated the CFTC’s use of “No Action” letters in managing commodity and futures markets perhaps reflecting a more “light touch” approach to regulation by Republicans.
CFTC Chair Behnam built on Stabenow’s and Boozman’s themes and expressed the continued need for comprehensive regulation in digital assets in his opening remarks. He repeated what he has said many times before: “In the absence of direct regulatory and surveillance authority for digital commodities in an underlying cash market, our enforcement authority is by definition reactionary; we can only act after fraud or manipulation has occurred or been uncovered.”