Biden Administration to Make Rostin Behnam Head of CFTC: Report
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Biden Administration to Make Rostin Behnam Head of CFTC: Report

10 months ago

President Joe Biden plans to make the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s title permanent

Biden Administration to Make Rostin Behnam Head of CFTC: Report

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President Joe Biden plans to make Commodity Futures Trading Commission Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam’s position permanent, according to a report.

While the actual announcement is likely weeks away, the decision to keep Behnam as the country’s top commodities regulator has been made, according to Bloomberg.

Behnam was appointed acting commissioner in January, after the Trump-appointed former chairman, Heath Tarbert, stepped down from that position. 

The CFTC regulates the U.S.’s involvement in the $582 trillion global derivatives market, which includes everything from gold to corn, as well as cryptocurrencies.

The CFTC has been effectively sharing oversight of the cryptocurrency market with the Securities and Exchange Commission for years, as no law has actually defined whether cryptocurrencies are securities or commodities — or in what circumstances they are both. The CFTC regulates cryptocurrency derivatives, including options and futures. 

Tarbert, who remains a CFTC Commissioner, called his agency’s work promoting “responsible” innovation in the fintech and cryptocurrency space one of his top accomplishments when he stepped down as chairman. Tarbert had earlier declared — unofficially — that ether is a commodity, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Christopher Giancarlo, who had did that for bitcoin.

Most recently, the BitMEX crypto derivatives exchange agreed to pay $100 million in a settlement with the CFTC that dealt with civil charges that the exchange violated anti-money laundering regulations in the Bank Secrecy Act and the Commodity Exchange Act by failing to collect documentation that would identify U.S. clients, and failing to report suspicious activities.

NYDFS Head Stepping Down

New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda Lacewell announced that she will step down as head of the state’s financial regulator.

The NYDFS’ remit includes exchanges, issuing digital assets, and the transmission of cryptocurrency. Its BitLicense is widely seen as the toughest and most prestigious — or onerous, depending on who you ask — license in the cryptocurrency business.
Lacewell overhauled the BitLicense in 2020, allowing the issuance of Conditional BitLicenses, which allow companies to conduct business in the cryptocurrency industry by working with an existing BitLicense holder. 
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