US CFTC to Intensify Crypto Work With New Tech Innovation Office

The derivatives regulator is upgrading its LabCFTC to an Office of Technology Innovation as cryptocurrency oversight outgrows the sandbox phase, said CFTC chief Rostin Behnam.

AccessTimeIconJul 25, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:31 p.m. UTC

One of the top U.S. crypto regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is adding firepower to its oversight by creating a new Office of Technology Innovation, said agency chief Rostin Behnam.

The agency’s LabCFTC, a long-running fintech team, will be transformed into the new office, which will be led by a director that reports to Behnam, he said in remarks prepared for a Brookings Institution event on Monday. The office will also be staffed by specialists, and existing CFTC employees will have a chance to rotate through to get crypto experience.

“We have moved past the stage of digital assets as a research project,” Behnam said.

He said the scale of the market, the vulnerability of retail investors and crypto’s recent, costly setbacks have lent urgency to U.S. efforts to regulate. While he praised legislative efforts to deal with crypto, he suggested his agency is “thinking creatively” about ways to address the sector without new congressional authorization.

“Regulators must be nimble, and new challenges may require us to dig deeper, take a different look into how our organic statutes promote our growth alongside the markets we regulate,” Behnam said. “In the absence of new legislative authority, we at the CFTC continue to look at how we can work to protect markets and investors within the bounds of our existing authority.”


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Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.

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