Senate Ag holds hearing on bill to put CFTC in charge of digital assets
The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing last week on a bipartisan bill that would make the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is under its jurisdiction, the primary regulator of what Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., described as “digital assets that act like commodities.”
The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act has been introduced by Stabenow and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., ranking member on the committee, and Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and John Thune, R-S.D.
“This bill gives the Commodity Futures Trading Commission oversight over digital assets that act like commodities — such as Bitcoin and Ether — that currently have no federal oversight. This is a glaring hole in our financial system, and I believe we must close it,” Stabenow said in an opening statement.
“The CFTC is the right regulator for the job,” Stabenow added. “Congress gave the agency oversight of the swaps market in Dodd-Frank, and it responded by setting the global standard. Our nation’s derivatives markets have been a mainstay for our producers during recent supply chain disruptions and elevated commodity prices.”
Boozman said, “I am confident the CFTC can rise to the challenge to be the right fit for an expanded regulatory role in the digital commodity spot market, and I am confident that we can work together to protect consumers and allow this ever-growing technology to flourish.”
Stabenow noted that Christopher Giancarlo, the former CFTC chairman, has expressed support for the bill.
At the hearing, Rostin Behnam, CFTC chair, also described the CFTC as “the right regulator” for the job.
Behnam noted, “On Sept. 21, 1922, nearly 100 years ago to the day, the Grain Futures Act of 1922 was signed into law, which led to the near immediate establishment of the then CFTC. With that legislative accomplishment, this committee and the Congress swiftly responded to a policy need that arose on the heels of emerging risks to American consumers because of new financial markets and products, technological innovation, and the promise of economic development. With the CFTC’s rich history overseeing commodity markets, coupled with its expertise and track record, which rests on a firm foundation as a forceful and disciplined cop on the beat, the agency stands ready to tackle these new risks and opportunities one century later.”
Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced a bill to double USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program funding.
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