Bitcoin ETF Approval Raises Regulatory Risks, Says CFTC Chair Behnam

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Rostin Behnam, Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has expressed deep concerns regarding the recent approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has led to an influx of trading activity, marking billions of dollars in transactions.

However, Behnam warns of the inherent risks and the urgent need for federal legislation to oversee the crypto market effectively.

Bitcoin ETF’s Risks and Regulatory Gaps

Behnam’s comments surface in the wake of the SEC’s green light for the first set of spot bitcoin ETFs, a decision that has not only stirred the market but also sparked a debate on regulatory frameworks.

The CFTC Chair emphasized the risk associated with the technical approval of these products, noting the potential for market participants to misconstrue approval as a sign of comprehensive regulatory oversight of the underlying digital assets. His concerns highlight the delicate balance between fostering innovation in financial products and ensuring robust consumer and market protections.

Additionally, Behnam pointed out the absence of federal oversight in the cash markets for digital assets. This gap, according to him, underscores the necessity for targeted legislation.

Despite efforts over the past few years to craft bills that would extend the CFTC’s authority over the cash market for cryptocurrencies, consensus among lawmakers remains elusive. Behnam reiterated his longstanding call for legislative action, stressing that the need for federal oversight of cash market digital assets is more pressing than ever.

Tackling Market Practices and Ensuring Transparency

The lack of clear regulatory guidelines has left the cash markets for digital assets rife with opaque and inconsistent practices. Behnam cited concerns over issues such as conflicts of interest and the need for robust customer protections.

He criticized the current state of the market, where ETFs have essentially repackaged a speculative and volatile asset, providing a false sense of security through a facade of indirect regulation.

CFTC’s Enforcement Role and the Road Ahead

In his remarks, Behnam also underscored the CFTC’s role as a result of the agency’s track record in 2023, with 47 digital asset-related actions out of a total of 96 demonstrating its commitment to clamping down on fraud and manipulation. Behnam, however, hinted at the potential for even greater impact if the agency were equipped with more comprehensive regulatory tools.

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The post Bitcoin ETF Approval Raises Regulatory Risks, Says CFTC Chair Behnam appeared first on CoinGape.

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