Rostin Behnam, CFTC chair, announced that the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission will undergo restructuring in order to be more proactive and complete. LabCFTC, which was “the focal point of the CFTC’s efforts to promote responsible Fintech Innovation,” will now be the Office of Technology Innovation (OTI). It reports directly to the Chairman.
“We are now engaged with a more proactive, comprehensive effort across agency to regulate these market using the tools currently available,” Behnam stated at a Brookings Institute webinar. He added, “Our core policy Divisions are now directly addressing the CFTC’s existing authority to bring about important regulatory protections for this market.”
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The Office of Public Affairs will also “realign” the Office of Customer Education and Outreach of the Commission to better serve new retail participants. Behnam noted that the market for digital assets is distinguished from other commodities by its high number of participants, citing CFTC reports.
“Trading indicative retail participants accounts for approximately 25% of the long open interest in Bitcoin futures markets.”
Behnam also complained about regulators’ “collective analytical paralysis”, despite the fact that financial technology is advancing rapidly. Behnam wasn’t always so calmly content to work within the current agency authorities which lack market surveillance or oversight capabilities. He told the Senate Agriculture Committee in February that his agency’s dependence on whistleblowers and tips to uncover illicit activity was “very, very narrow” in its view of what is really happening on the market.
Legislative propositions such as the Lummis–Gillibrand bill or the Digital Commodity Exchange Act give the CTFC greater authority over crypto markets.