CFTC Seeks Public Comment On Ether And Ethereum

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has asked for public comment for use cases and risks of ethereum’s blockchain and ether, its cryptocurrency. “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivative markets as well as ensuring the integrity of monitoring and systemic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets,” the federal agency wrote in a RFI (Request For Information) on its website. It is also interested in understanding “ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks” and has listed a set of questions. They seek to clarify differences between the networks of bitcoin and ethereum and the effect that ether derivatives could have on its price at spot cryptocurrency exchanges. 

SEC Commissioner William Hinman had implied earlier this year that ether may not be a security, awakening hopes that the agency might soon allow ether futures. Ether futures are already traded on platforms like Hong Kong-based BitMex and some research firms blame trader shorts related to the coin for the recent crash in its price in crypto markets. But those markets are not regulated. 

In its latest release, the agency stated that the information would help LabCFTC, the agency’s FinTech initiative, understand the technology. In its report on the matter, Bloomberg has taken the CFTC’s statement to mean that ether futures could be on a delayed timeline. LabCFTC facilitated the launch of bitcoin futures last year by releasing a FinTech primer that explained cryptocurrencies, its head, Daniel Gorfine, told a Congressional hearing earlier this year.