US House debates granting CFTC spot digital asset oversight

7 June 2023


The US House Committee on Agriculture, which has federal oversight over the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, held a hearing on 6 June titled "The Future of Digital Assets: Providing Clarity for Digital Asset Spot Markets."

The purpose of the meeting was, in large part, to explore draft legislation that seeks to provide a statutory framework for digital assets, including new and exclusive regulatory jurisdiction over digital commodity spot markets. The bill would also establish several new registration categories including digital commodity exchanges, digital commodity dealers, and digital commodity brokers.

FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken provided testimony as part of the hearing. In his remarks, he outlined some of the regulatory history of the CFTC and "the benefits of the Commission’s principles-based regulatory framework and how its flexible approach to regulation protects customers, promotes innovation, and preserves market integrity."

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn  Thompson (R-Pa.) noted a desire to "put up clear guardrails for digital assets, it is important consumers and market participants benefit from the same longstanding customer protections found in traditional financial markets." He also noted the Ag Committee's collaboration with the House Committee on Financial Services "to provide certainty, fill regulatory gaps, and bolster innovation" through legislative efforts.

Next steps for the draft legislation remains uncertain in a dividend US Congress, however. Ranking Member David Scott (D-Ga.) raised concerns that the discussion draft of digital asset legislation did not include adequate input from Democrats. Scott also raised concerns about adequately funding the CFTC if the bill does become law.

In addition to FIA's Walt Lukken, other testimony at the hearing featured remarks from:

  • Rostin Behnam, current chairman of the CFTC
  • J. Christopher Giancarlo, former CFTC chairman
  • Paul Grewal, chief legal officer at Coinbase
  • Dan Gallagher, chief legal compliance and corporate affairs officer, Robinhood Markets, Inc. and a former commissioner at the US Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Dan Berkovitz, former CFTC commissioner and former general counsel at the SEC

View an archived webcast of the proceedings here.

  • MarketVoice
  • Digital Assets
  • News & Commentary