Former CFTC official challenges SEC on Ethereum regulation


  • Brian Quintenz, former CFTC Commissioner, has criticized the SEC’s approach to Ethereum, calling it “illegal” and highlighting regulatory confusion.
  • Quintenz points to the SEC’s approval of Ethereum’s future ETFs as an implicit recognition of Ethereum’s status as a non-security.
  • He argues that if the SEC considered Ethereum a security, the CFTC-listed futures contracts, upon which the ETFs are based, would be illegal.

Brian Quintenz, a former Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has openly criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approach to Ethereum (ETH). He labeled the SEC’s treatment of ETH as “illegal” and expressed concerns over regulatory confusion. This criticism comes in light of the SEC’s approval of Ethereum futures ETFs on regulated security exchanges in October 2023, a move that Quintenz argues implicitly recognized Ethereum’s status as a non-security.

Quintenz’s critique was articulated in a detailed thread on the social media platform X. He highlighted the SEC’s decision to allow ETH Futures ETFs to trade, suggesting it acknowledged Ethereum as a commodity outside its regulatory purview. He contends this action by the SEC should dispel any doubts regarding Ethereum’s classification and regulatory treatment.

Quintenz calls out SEC on Ethereum ETFs

The approval of Ethereum ETFs, especially following Ethereum’s transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism in September 2022, was cited by Quintenz as indicative of the SEC’s view of Ethereum not being a security. He posited that if the SEC harbored any doubts about Ethereum’s regulatory status in October 2023, it would not have sanctioned the ETFs. Furthermore, Quintenz argued that if Ethereum were deemed a security, then the futures contracts listed by the CFTC, which the ETFs were based on, would be deemed illegal. This assertion highlights a potential regulatory contradiction and emphasizes the need for clarity in the classification of digital assets.

Additionally, Quintenz criticized the SEC for causing confusion and potentially harming the public by not acknowledging these facts. He raised concerns about potential delays or denials of Ethereum ETFs by the SEC, questioning the agency’s justification given its previous acknowledgment of Ethereum’s status as outside its jurisdiction. This criticism was further fueled by the SEC’s pending decision on Prometheum’s request to offer custody services for Ethereum as a security. This matter has seen opposition from the CFTC.

SEC and CFTC coordination urged by Quintenz

The conversation around the regulatory classification of Ethereum gained further attention following an X user’s query. The user’s question touched on the complexity of Ethereum’s classification, inquiring whether the SEC’s actions could be seen as recognizing Ethereum’s commodity status without necessarily affirming its non-security status. Quintenz responded by emphasizing that a commodity is considered a non-security if there is a CFTC-regulated futures or swaps contract on it. His response sheds light on the intricate balance between acknowledging a digital asset’s commodity status and its implications for its classification as a security or non-security.

This ongoing debate underscores the broader challenges facing regulators in the cryptocurrency space. As digital assets continue to evolve, the need for clear, consistent regulatory guidelines becomes increasingly apparent. The dialogue initiated by Quintenz’s criticisms highlights the potential for regulatory confusion and the importance of coordinated efforts between agencies like the SEC and CFTC to ensure the healthy development of the cryptocurrency market.

The discourse surrounding Ethereum’s regulatory classification and the implications of the SEC’s decisions reflect the broader challenges of regulating a rapidly evolving digital asset landscape. As the conversation unfolds, the industry watches closely for further developments and clarifications from regulatory bodies.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Mutuma Maxwell

Maxwell especially enjoys penning pieces about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He started his venture into blogging in 2020, later focusing on the world of cryptocurrencies. His life's work is to introduce the concept of decentralization to people worldwide.

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