SEC Chairman Called Bitcoin a Commodity, Doesn’t Comment on Other Assets

SEC Chairman Called Bitcoin a Commodity

The SEC Chairman called Bitcoin a commodity recently while refusing to make comments on any other token. Over at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Chairman Gary Gensler recently stated that he believes in classifying BTC as a commodity instead of a security. 

However, the Chairman refused to comment on the classification of other cryptocurrencies, leaving altcoins such as Etherium with unclear status. 

Bitcoin Vs the Crypto World

During an interview on CNBC Monday, Jim Cramer asked the chairman about his work with the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In their collaboration, they are working to regulate digital assets. His response was little more than a view he’s stated before. 

Gensler believes that the majority of the crypto market, a highly speculative class of assets, consists of securities. 

“The investing public is hoping for a return, just like when they invest in other financial assets we call securities,” he stated.

However, Gensler also stated that he believes some assets, mainly Bitcoin, can be commodities. He noted that his predecessors have been willing to classify certain digital assets as such. 

“That’s the only one I’m going to say because I’m not going to talk about any one of these tokens,” he added.

Past SEC Chairman Jay Clayton had similar views in his tenure, maintaining that Ether was a commodity. However, in his interview with CNBC in January, Gensler avoided giving a direct answer about the status of Ether. 

In fact, during his time teaching a course focused on the blockchain at MIT, Gensler argued that the ICO of Ether resembled a security. Specifically, he stated that it passed the “Howey Test,” which is a simple litmus test people have used to classify securities since the 1930s. 

Still, the only solace Gensler offers regarding Ether came from an indirect source. Earlier this month, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said that both CFTC Chairman Rostin Benham and Gensler agreed that Ether is a commodity. While Benham backs this claim, Gensler has yet to speak on the matter. 

Commodities or Securities? 

Internally, there’s debate on how to classify digital assets among crypto enthusiasts and professionals. Max Kaiser maintains that only bitcoin is a commodity, claiming that any other token is an unregistered security. 

“The overwhelming evidence shows that ETH, Vitalik [Buterin], [Joseph] Lubin, the entire ETH team, and those trading it… openly discussed ETH as designed to be, with the intention to be, a security,” he said in mid-June.

On the other hand, there are certain industry leaders who believe that these digital assets don’t fit into this sort of binary classification system. Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano, for example, claimed that any “category-based regulation” is antithetical to crypto assets. This is because it makes the assets dependent on centralized actors. 

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