CFTC Chairman Says Ether Is Indeed a Commodity

CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert has stated that ether, the world’s second-biggest digital currency by market capitalization, is a commodity.

Talking at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit on October 10, Tarbert said he trusts ether isn’t a security.

“We’ve been very clear on bitcoin: bitcoin is a commodity. We haven’t said anything about ether – until now,” Tarbert stated. “It is my view as chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity.”

Tarbert further said the CFTC is working with the SEC on the two digital currencies and have concurred both are not securities. Going forward, the CFTC may enable ether futures to trade on U.S. markets, he implied.

In May, a senior CFTC authority revealed the office was prepared to approve an ethereum features contract if it met the right conditions.

Concerning currencies made by hard forks, Tarbert contended the CFTC’s treatment of each new coin ought to rely upon its creation.

The administrator stated:

“It stands to reason that similar assets should be treated similarly. If the underlying asset, the original digital asset, hasn’t been determined to be a security and is therefore a commodity, most likely the forked asset will be the same. Unless the fork itself raises some securities law issues under that classic Howey Test.”

Tarbert further commented on the Facebook-driven Libra venture, stating the major government regulators are taking a look at the stablecoin and it still can’t seem to be resolved whether it falls into the security classification.

“Is it a security, first and foremost. And if it isn’t a security, it is most likely a commodity,” he stated.

Later in his talk, Tarbert revealed that the CFC had delegated a new director of LabCFTC, the agency’s trial fintech project.

Taking on the job is Melissa Netram, previously chief of worldwide public policy and regulatory affairs for financial software firm Intuit. Netram also had involvement in financial administrations at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.