CFTC Chair Sheds Light on ‘Turf War” with SEC Over Crypto

CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam declares most cryptocurrencies as commodities, differing from the SEC’s perspective.

Rostin Behman stands opposed to Gary Gensler.
  • CFTC Chair Behnam claims most cryptocurrencies are commodities.
  • SEC’s Chair Gensler views all but Bitcoin as securities.
  • Ongoing ‘turf war’ between CFTC and SEC.

The cryptocurrency industry is currently at the forefront of a significant regulatory debate in the United States. Entities like the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) play pivotal roles in defining and enforcing regulatory frameworks. 

Recently, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam made a definitive statement about the nature of cryptocurrencies, claiming the agency’s authority over “most” digital assets. 

CFTC Chair Claims ‘Most’ Cryptos Are Commodities

In a Wednesday, December 13, appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam made a significant declaration that has stirred the ongoing conversation around cryptocurrency regulation. Under current U.S. laws, Behnam asserted that most cryptocurrencies should be classified as commodities. 


Behnam’s viewpoint contrasts sharply with that of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who has consistently maintained that except Bitcoin, all other cryptocurrencies should be considered securities and thus fall under the SEC’s regulatory purview. 

Moreover, Behnam pointed out this ‘turf war’ among two U.S. regulatory bodies over who gets the final say in regulating the crypto industry. This conflict highlights the need for clearer US crypto asset rules. 

CFTC’s Ongoing Stance on Crypto

Historically, the CFTC has included Ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies in its commodities classification. This was notably evident in their lawsuit against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried in December 2021, where Bitcoin, Ether, and Tether were referred to as commodities.


Moreover, a US court ruled that Ripple Labs Inc.’s token, XRP, is not a security when sold to the public. This decision is a significant victory for Ripple in its ongoing legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)​​.

The U.S. holds a significant position in the global cryptocurrency market, making its regulatory approach highly influential. The ongoing debate and lack of clarity in U.S. regulations have broader implications for the international crypto industry, potentially guiding global regulatory trends.

On the Flipside

  • A U.S. court ruling that XRP is not a security offered some clarity in the often ambiguous crypto regulatory environment​​.
  • XRP’s value soared after the ruling, indicating a positive market response. However, it is unclear how the CTFC’s jurisdiction over crypto would affect digital assets. 

Why This Matters

The  CFTC’s “turf war” with the SEC underlines the importance of clear, consistent regulations in the cryptocurrency industry. This clarity is crucial for protecting investors and enabling the adoption of crypto.  

Read more about the SEC’s legal battle with Ripple: 
Former SEC Chair Challenges Court Ruling in Ripple Case

Read more about Binance’s user survey: 
45% Binance Users Use Crypto to Boost Earnings, Survey Shows

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

David Marsanic

David Marsanic is a journalist for DailyCoin who covers the intersection of crypto, traditional finance, and government. He focuses on institutionalized crypto entities like major cryptocurrency exchanges and Solana, breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand writing. David's prior experience as a business journalist at various crypto and traditional news sites has enabled him to maintain a critical approach to news while adhering to high journalistic integrity standards.