CFTC Aligns With SEC: ICO Tokens Can Be Commodities

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has published a new primer on cryptocurrencies, which includes statements about ICOs.

Oct 17, 2017 at 4:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:03 a.m. UTC

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has revealed it may consider tokens issued through initial coin offerings (ICOs) as commodities.

A publication released today by LabCFTC, a fintech initiative within the US regulator, covers the basics of the technology as well as a number of use cases. However, it also highlights the CFTC's existing regulatory posture toward cryptocurrencies – back in 2015, the agency said that it would classify bitcoin and other cryptographic assets as commodities.

Notably, the document includes comments on recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) statements around ICOs. In July, the agency said that blockchain-based tokens sold through the funding model could fall under the federal definition of a security, thus triggering a host of regulatory implications.

In the LabCFTC release, the agency threw its support behind that determination.

"There is no inconsistency between the SEC’s analysis and the CFTC's determination that virtual currencies are commodities and that virtual tokens may be commodities or derivatives contracts depending on the particular facts and circumstances," the agency wrote, adding:

"The CFTC looks beyond form and considers the actual substance and purpose of an activity when applying the federal commodities laws and CFTC regulations."

Echoing other releases from US agencies, the CFTC document closes with a section on the risks for investors, including a warning about performing due diligence before engaging with an exchange.

"Conduct extensive research before giving any money or personal information to a virtual currency platform," the report states.

The full LabCFTC report can be found below:

Image via Shutterstock

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