Bitcoin

Illinois Court Confirms That Bitcoin And Ethereum Are Both Commodities: CFTC Chair

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Rostin Benham – Chairman of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – says that an Illinois court has formally ruled both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) to be commodities, all but settling the CFTC’s crypto turf war with its sister agency.

“In its decision, the court re-affirmed that both Bitcoin and Ether are commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act,” said Benham in prepared remarks during a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.

Ethereum A Commodity, Court Confirms

The chairman referenced a July 3 summary judgment delivered by Judge Mary Rowland in a U.S. district court in Illinois, finding that defendants in a crypto-related case had committed fraud and failure to register under the Commodity Exchange Act.

Specifically, defendant Sam Ikkurty of Oregon recruited investors to his funds by promising them 15% annualized returns paid out in “digital asset commodities” including both BTC and ETH.

“The order finds not only are Bitcoin and Ethereum commodities within the CFTC’s jurisdiction, but also “OHM and Klima, two non-Bitcoin virtual currencies … qualify as commodities,” read the CFTC’s press release last Wednesday.

While Bitcoin’s regulatory classification has long been clear, more uncertainty has surrounded Ether, for which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has refused to provide a clear statement on whether it views the asset as its jurisdiction.

Developments in recent months have left the crypto industry assuming that Ether has de facto been accepted as a commodity. In May, the SEC approved exchanges to list Ether spot ETFs, referencing the products as “commodity-based trust shares” in their approval order. They also ended their investigation into Consensys last month regarding whether ETH was an unregistered security.

The implicit acceptance of ETH as a commodity has invited crypto firms like VanEck to file for a Solana ETF, arguing that SOL resembles ETH and should therefore be a commodity as well.

The Call For CFTC Crypto Authority

During his testimony, Benham requested legislative authority from Congress for the CFTC to explicitly require registrants to provide disclosures on the structure of their commodity-based tokens before launching them.

“Given the important role the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plays in the oversight of security-based digital tokens,” he added, “the Committee should consider a disciplined, balanced framework for the determination of tokens as commodities or securities under existing law.”

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