Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Heath Tarbert recently declared that Ethereum is a commodity, and is now saying that he expects officially regulated Ethereum futures to launch in the United States within the next 6-12 months.
The reason that the CFTC considers Ethereum a commodity is that it is sufficiently decentralized, and there is no longer a centralized company in charge of Ethereum who is selling coins to investors who expect profit. This puts Ethereum under CFTC jurisdiction and therefore eligible for having a futures market in the United States, unlike many other cryptocurrencies that are considered securities and fall under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) jurisdiction.
In general, the CFTC seems to be more willing to working with the crypto space than the SEC, as shown by the CFTC approving two different Bitcoin futures exchanges, while the SEC has not allowed any crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) nor any officially approved initial coin offerings (ICOs).
That being said, Tarbert says the CFTC is investigating whether Ethereum’s planned transition to Proof of Stake (PoS) will impact its classification as a commodity. In general, Tarbert believes that PoS is more decentralized than Proof of Work (PoW). However, the details about Ethereum’s transition to PoS are not finalized yet, and the transition may not happen for months, so the CFTC cannot make a decision yet.
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