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US Senate introduces bill to put CFTC in charge of regulating Bitcoin, Ethereum

Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee introduced a bill on Aug. 3 to make the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) the chief regulator of digital assets that are commodities.

The CFTC currently regulates the derivatives market such as futures and swaps but not underlying commodities.

According to the bill, the CFTC would get “exclusive jurisdiction” over cryptocurrencies that qualify as commodities. The bill proposes to amend the definition of ‘commodity’ in the Commodity Exchange Act to include “digital commodity,” which includes the two largest cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) — and any other tokens not deemed to be securities.

The CFTC would oversee all digital commodities trades except those where digital assets are used solely for the purpose of buying or selling goods or services, according to the legislation.

The nitty-gritty of the bill

The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022 would make it mandatory for all crypto firms dealing in digital commodities to register with the CFTC. The bill proposes that brokers, custodians, and trading platforms be registered under separate categories, although mining companies would not be required to register.

The bill will also impose an obligation on crypto trading firms to disclose certain information about the digital commodity contracts listed on their platform. This would include the operating structure and system of the commodity, trading volume, and volatility, according to the bill.

The legislation will empower the CFTC to set rules governing margined, leveraged, or financed digital commodity trades along with ensuring fraud prevention. The Commission will also be entrusted with developing rules for consumer protection, like requiring trading firms to disclose conflicts of interest, clearly stating material risks, and setting standards for the marketing of such platforms.

With increasing concern around the energy consumption of digital assets, the CFTC would be required to keep an updated report of how much energy is used in the creation and transfer of the…

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