The CFTC Wants to Learn More About Ethereum

The CFTC has published a request for input to learn more about ethereum and its underlying blockchain network.

Dec 11, 2018 at 7:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:40 a.m. UTC

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) wants to learn more about ethereum, its technology, and the markets that have built up around it.

In a "Request for Input" (RFI) published Tuesday, the regulator explains that it is looking for public feedback on different questions about ethereum, ranging from its technology to how it's used. Respondents have 60 days from the RFI's publication in the Federal Register to submit answers, either via email, mail or hand delivery.

"The CFTC expects the comments and information received will benefit LabCFTC, the CFTC’s FinTech initiative, and help to inform the Commission’s understanding of these emerging technologies," a press release explains.

goes into further detail, explaining that its RFI will inform the agency's oversight of the ethereum market, as well as any derivatives markets related to the cryptocurrency.

It goes on to say:

"The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives markets as well as monitoring and reducing systemic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks."

The document lists 25 different questions about ether and the network, divided into the network's purpose, the technology behind it, its governance, markets and oversight and cybersecurity and custody.

The questions themselves touch on various issues and concerns discussed in the space, including ethereum's upcoming move to proof-of-stake, scalability issues, how the network is being used specifically at present and how ether deposits may be audited, among others.

Notably, one question asks: "How would the introduction of derivative contracts on ether potentially change or modify the incentive structures that underlie a proof-of-stake model?"

A number of questions following this go further into detail about how the ether market might impact a derivatives market built on top of it – or vice versa.

The RFI was published through the regulator's LabCFTC fintech initiative, which focuses on both educating the public about crypto assets, as well as acts as a way for participants in the space to interact with the regulator.

CFTC image via Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock

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