A new bipartisan Senate bill aims to give oversight of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to news reports.
The latest legislation, being introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and top-ranking Republican John Boozman of Arkansas, would give the CFTC the power to regulate spot markets for Bitcoin and Ether, the two largest cryptocurrencies, the Wall Street Journal writes.
Currently, the CFTC is empowered to oversee derivatives rather than the commodities underlying them, according to the publication.
CFTC chairman Rostin Behnam — who previously served on Stabenow’s staff — has been working with the senator “for months” on legislation giving the agency oversight of spot markets for some cryptocurrencies, people familiar with the matter say, according to the Journal.
In June, Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo. — who sits on the Senate Banking Committee — and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who’s on the Agriculture Committee, introduced a bill that would put digital assets under the CFTC’s oversight by classifying them as commodities such as oil or steel.
In July, the House Financial Services Committee said it wanted to give the Federal Reserve more power over crypto tokens pegged to the dollar and other official currencies, known as stablecoins, according to the Journal.
SEC chair Gary Gensler, meanwhile, has long pushed for the commission to regulate digital assets.
Last week, Gensler took to Twitter to announce that he had instructed SEC staff “to work directly with the platforms to get them registered and regulated.”
“When there’s a topic as hot as crypto, everybody wants a seat at the table,” said Aaron Klein, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on financial regulation, according to the Journal. “The question is, are we going to have regulatory turf paralysis?”
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