JPMorgan Fined $65 Million for Manipulating US Dollar Benchmark

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Monday slapped JPMorgan Chase Bank with a $65 million fine for attempting to manipulate the value of a US Dollar benchmark index. JPMorgan Busted for Trying to Manipulated USD Benchmark According to the CFTC, JPMorgan traders repeatedly attempted to manipulate the US Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association

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CFTC Seeks Judge’s Approval to Sue Alleged $6 Million Fraud My Big Coin

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has claimed it has jurisdiction over a cryptocurrency called My Big Coin and has asked a federal judge to grant it authority to proceed with the lawsuit which claims the cryptocurrency has been operating a $6 million fraud. CFTC claims My Big Coin Pay, based in Nevada, misappropriated $6

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US CFTC Court Case Could Affect Its Authority on Crypto

CFTC Court Case

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has entered into a court case that could determine if it has the authority to regulate cryptocurrencies.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the CFTC had sued Randall Crater’s tech company and the cryptocurrency My Big Coin in January.

Allegedly, Crater and his company “perpetrated a $6 million [USD] fraud on people who wanted to buy My Big Coin.”

CFTC Court Case

According to the article, Crater’s lawyers have said the CFTC does not have any authority on the cryptocurrency because it is not a ...

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US Regulator’s Power Over Crypto Challenged in Court

US Regulator's Power Over Crypto Challenged in Court

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is being challenged in court over its oversight of cryptocurrencies. The defendants argue that their tokens are not commodities, with no futures contracts, which the CFTC regulates. The outcome of this case could affect the Commission’s ability to police all future crypto frauds.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Challenging the CFTC’s Power

US Regulator's Power Over Crypto Challenged in CourtThe power of the CFTC over cryptocurrencies has reportedly been challenged in court. The case involving My Big Coin could determine whether the derivatives regulator “has the authority to combat fraud associated with cryptocurrencies,” Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Katherine Cooper, lawyer for the defense, explained that the CFTC should not have jurisdiction in this case, stating that “our argument boils down to the fact that because My Big Coin does not have future contracts or other derivatives trading on it, it is not a commodity,” and does not fall under the Commodity Exchange Act according to which the CFTC is the regulator.

The news outlet elaborated:

Lawyers watching the case say a ruling against the CFTC could affect its ability to police virtual currency frauds as the only one on which futures contracts are traded in the United States is bitcoin.

Gregory Kaufman, a lawyer with Eversheds Sutherland, believes that the outcome of this case “would have a chilling effect on the CFTC’s application of its powers in this area.”

Other than My Big Coin, the Commission has announced eight cryptocurrency-related cases to date, the publication noted, adding that U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel in Boston is set to hear the My Big Coin case on Thursday.

About My Big Coin Case

US Regulator's Power Over Crypto Challenged in CourtThe case began in January when the CFTC sued Randall Crater and the company he founded called My Big Coin Pay Inc. The news outlet described, “The CFTC says the defendants misappropriated $6 million from 28 customers they lured by naming their virtual currency [My Big Coin] to sound like bitcoin and further claiming it was backed by gold.”

The Commission was given the authority over crypto in March when U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn “ruled for the first time that virtual currencies can be regulated by the agency as a commodity,” the publication conveyed. However, Crater’s lawyers argued:

The CFTC has no authority over the virtual currency because it [My Big Coin] is not a commodity like wheat or cotton or a service that is traded using futures contracts, the typical focus of the agency’s enforcement regime.

Nonetheless, Neal Kumar, a lawyer at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, was quoted explaining that “Crater may still lose because the Commodity Exchange Act defines services as commodities not just when they currently have futures contracts associated with them but in the future could.”

Do you think the CFTC should have jurisdiction over all cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


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CFTC Subpoenas Leading Exchanges for Trading Data

CFTC Subpoenas Leading Exchanges for Trading Data

According to anonymous sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is coordinating with the U.S. Justice Department in conducting investigations into price manipulation in the spot BTC markets. The report claims that the CFTC launched a criminal probe into BTC price manipulation after several cryptocurrency exchanges rejected a request from Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) for the exchanges to share trading data CME.

Also Read: US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin Market

CFTC Purportedly Conducting Criminal Investigation Into Bitcoin Price Manipulation

CFTC Subpoenas Leading Exchanges for Trading DataLast month, it was reported that the U.S Justice Department had launched a criminal probe into whether the bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets the subject of manipulation and misconduct, citing “four people familiar with the matter.”

According to a report recently published by The Wall Street Journal, again citing “people familiar with the matter,” the CFTC has “open[ed] an investigation into whether traders have colluded to manipulate bitcoin prices.

The report adds that “The CFTC is coordinating with the U.S Justice Department” in its investigations.

CFTC Investigation Spurred by Lack of Trading Data Provided to CME by Exchanges

CFTC Subpoenas Leading Exchanges for Trading DataThe Wall Street Journal claims that the CFTC’s investigation was spurred by a lack of responsiveness to requests from CME that Bitstamp, Coinbase, Itbit, and Kraken to provide trading data back in January. In response to the requests, several exchanges reportedly initially “declined to comply,” before “provid[ing] some data” after CME reduced the request to just several hours of trading activity, rather than a full day. The report adds that the data provided only included information “restricted to “a few market participants.”

The CFTC, the regulatory authority tasked with overseeing CME’s bitcoin futures markets, reportedly subpoenaed the exchanges for the data in response to the dispute. The report describes the “fight over access to bitcoin trading data” as having comprised a significant factor in the CFTC’s decision to launch an investigation into price manipulation in the BTC markets.

Regulated Futures Markets Grants CFTC Oversight of Underlying Spot BTC Markets

CFTC Subpoenas Leading Exchanges for Trading DataThe investigation is legitimated by bitcoin’s designation as a commodity, juridically granting the CFTC jurisdiction over the commodity markets underscoring derivative markets overseen by the regulator. CME spokeswoman, Laurie Bischel, stated: “All participating exchanges are required to share information, including cooperation with inquiries and investigations.”

Jesse Powell, the chief executive officer of Kraken, has criticised the subpoena, stating that the “newly declared oversight” of the CFTC “has the spot exchanges questioning the value and cost of their index participation.” Charles Cascarilla, the chief executive officer of Paxos, the company that operates Itbit, stated: “We have definitely entered an unknown area where it is clear there is a desire for tightened oversight.” As of this writing, Bitstamp and Coinbase are yet to address the alleged subpoenas.

What is your response to the investigations into BTC price manipulation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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CFTC Demands Trading Data From Bitcoin Exchanges In Price Manipulation Probe

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has told certain bitcoin exchanges to provide extensive trading data to determine whether or not manipulation has distorted cryptocurrency markets, unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal. Regulators opened the investigation after CME Group Inc. introduced bitcoin futures in December, according to the sources. The futures’ final values are … Continued

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Cryptocurrency a ‘Modern Miracle,” Not Going Away: CFTC Commissioner

One of the top market regulators in the US said this week that cryptocurrency is a “technological revolution” that will one day be a part of every national economy. Speaking on Monday before the BFI Summit at the United Nations, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Rostin Behnam discussed challenges faced by the agency as

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Regulations Round-Up: CFTC Rejects FOIA Request, SEC Not Modifying Securities Laws

Regulations Round-Up: CFTC Rejects FOIA Request, SEC Not Modifying Securities Laws

In recent regulatory news, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has rejected a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the subpoenas recently received by Bitfinex and Tether; the United States Securities and Exchanges (SEC) Chairman, Jay Clayton, has indicated that the regulator will not alter existing securities legislation to cater to cryptocurrencies. Maria Vullo, the Superintendent of Financial Services for the State of New York, has praised the regulatory efforts made by the CFTC and SEC in the arena of initial coin offerings, and the SEC has announced Valerie Szczepanik as the commission’s new Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation.

Also Read: Coinbase Acquires Investment Firms to Offer Regulated Crypto Securities

CFTC Rejects Freedom of Information Request

Regulations Round-Up: CFTC Rejects FOIA Request, SEC Not Modifying Securities LawsIt has been reported by media that the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commission has rejected a request under the Freedom of Information Act for access to the subpoenas delivered to Bitfinex and Tether on the 6th of December.

The FOIA request, dated June 5th, requested “subpoenas issued to Ifinex inc. also known as Bitfinex and its subsidiary companies, as well as subpoenas issued Tether Limited and its subsidiary companies.”

The anonymous individual who submitted the request claims that the CFTC responded stating that it had discovered “thousands of responsive records, all of which are exempt from the FOIA’s disclosure requirement,” adding that “Some records are exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 7(A), 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(A), because disclosure of that material could reasonably be expected to interfere with the conduct of the Commission’s law enforcement activities.”

The CFTC also reportely stated that “Some records were obtained on the condition that the agency keep the source of the information confidential. Those records are exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 7(0), 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(D). That exemption is intended to ensure that “confidential sources are not lost because of retaliation against the sources for past disclosures or because of the sources’ fear of future disclosures.”

SEC Will Not Modify Securities Regulations to Cater to Cryptocurrencies

Regulations Round-Up: CFTC Rejects FOIA Request, SEC Not Modifying Securities LawsIn a recent interview with CNBC, the chairman of the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, firmly rejected the suggestion of modifying existing securities legislation in order to adapt regulations to cryptocurrencies. Mr. Clayton stated “We are not going to do any violence to the traditional definition of a security that has worked for a long time. We’ve been doing this a long time, there’s no need to change the definition.”

The SEC chairman also sought to clarify the regulator’s jurisdiction regarding virtual currencies. “Crypto-currencies: These are replacements for sovereign currencies, replace the dollar, the euro, the yen with bitcoin. That type of currency is not a security. A token, a digital asset, where I give you my money and you go off and make a venture, and in return for giving you my money I say ‘you can get a return’ that is a security and we regulate that. We regulate the offering of that security and regulate the trading of that security.”

New York Officials Praise U.S. Authorities for ICO Regulations

Regulations Round-Up: CFTC Rejects FOIA Request, SEC Not Modifying Securities LawsAt a recent event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations titled “Legal Tender? The Regulation of Cryptocurrencies,” Maria Vullo, the Superintendent of Financial Services for the State of New York, praised the efforts of U.S authorities to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Mrs. Vullo stated “I think the SEC has done the best job possible in its efforts to regulate token sales,” adding, “in many ways, this is no different than other types of banking-related services where you have the state regulators, you have the public companies that are also regulated by the SEC and the CFTC.”

Mrs. Vullo added “I think a lot of these token sales run afoul of the spirit of the law, if not the letter of the law. But we have to be careful not to lump them all together.”

Valerie Szczepanik Named SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets

Regulations Round-Up: CFTC Rejects FOIA Request, SEC Not Modifying Securities LawsThe SEC has announced Valerie Szczepanik as the regulator’s new Senior Advisor for Digital Assets, and Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance. Mrs. Szczepanik has worked with the SEC since 1997, most recently serving as an Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit.

Chairman Jay Clayton stated “Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad. With her demonstrated skill, experience, and keen awareness of the importance of fostering innovation while ensuring investor protection, Val is the right person to coordinate our efforts in this dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”

Ms. Szczepanik stated “I am excited to take on this new role in support of the SEC’s efforts to address digital assets and innovation as it carries out its mission to facilitate capital formation, promote fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and protect investors, particularly Main Street investors. I look forward to working closely with staff across the agency, our regulatory partners, and the public as we provide a coordinated and strategic response to developments.”

What are your thoughts on the current regulatory climate surrounding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


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Virtual Currencies to Become “Part of the Economic Practices” of All Nations – CFTC Commissioner

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC Commissioner

United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner, Rostin Behnam recently gave a speech in which he predicted that “virtual currencies […] will become part of the economic practices of any country.” The CFTC commissioner predicted that cryptocurrencies will have a transformative effect in providing financial services to unbanked populations, and undermine corruption through increasing financial transparency.

Also Read: Indian Crypto Exchanges Engage with RBI to Offer Banking Ban Alternatives

“Cryptocurrencies Will Proliferate to Every Economy and Every Part of the Planet” – CFTC Commissioner, Rostin Behnam

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC CommissionerWhilst speaking at the recent BFI Summit at the United Nations Plaza in New York, CFTC Commissioner, Rostin Behnam, expressed his belief that virtual currencies will be integrated into the economic practices of all nations.

Mr. Behnam stated that “virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere. Let me repeat that: these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet. Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival. And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations.”

“We are Witnessing a Technological Revolution. Perhaps We are Witnessing a Modern Miracle”

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC CommissionerMr. Behnam predicts that virtual currencies will undermine financial corruption, however, he also warns that the “economic […] kleptocracy” exerts excessive influence over the cryptocurrency markets, that virtual currencies could become a vehicle for further capital accumulation for the financial elites.

Mr. Behnam states “One of the often discussed problems in developing countries is corruption. I know it is a perennial problem, undermining the work of the United States and virtually all international organizations. It may be the single greatest impediment to social justice, equality, hunger, peaceful resolution of conflict, and a host of other problems […] Now, with the advent of virtual assets, technology may provide a solution. And, the single greatest weapon against corruption may be the cell phone. There are 6.8 billion cell phones in the world, almost one for every person on the planet. Technology could simply bypass corruption. Here is our chance to put money directly into the hands of those who need it, without bribery, rake-offs, graft, and shakedowns. Virtual currencies could transform the economic and social landscape. It could mean a massive, and equitable, shift of wealth. Technology could be transformational, without a military take-over, civil war, or political or religious creed.”

“However,” he continued, “economic elites know all this. They will not be idle. This is what I mean by a powerful danger. If the kleptocracy controls technology and the means of distribution, then they simply accumulate more wealth at the expense of their citizens, draining wealth in cryptocurrencies rather than dollars or euros. Virtual assets may be a stranglehold. In other words, technology can be a weapon against the work of the United Nations and others trying to alleviate poverty or violence. Virtual assets become a means of deeper control of wealth and a means of exploitation.”

Virtual Currencies Provide Financial Services To Unbanked Populations

Virtual Currencies to Become "Part of the Economic Practices" of All Nations - CFTC CommissionerThe CFTC commissioner discusses the potential for cryptocurrencies to serve as a means through which the vast populations lacking access to basic financial services can attain greater economic autonomy.

“Traditionally, there has been a need for a trusted intermediary – for example, a bank or other financial institution – to serve as a gatekeeper for transactions and many economic activities. Virtual currencies seek to replace the need for a central authority or intermediary with a decentralized, rules-based and open consensus mechanism,” said Mr. Behnam.

“The so-called ‘unbanked’ could now be on the virtual grid. And, those without computers, some four billion people, could gain an important connection through cell phones. And, the discussion has extended to micro-lending, micro-transactions, greater transparency, and greater financial inclusion,” he added.

What are your thoughts regarding Commissioner Behnam’s speech? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


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DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

Investigations are all about the crypto ecosystem, but a recent report regarding a US Department of Justice price manipulation crackdown was widely said to be the cause of market caps falling, and by a lot. Fundstrat, the ecosystem’s favorite financial professional crypto bull, is on record as welcoming government regulation, what it calls “adult supervision.”

Also read: Bitcoin Use Case: Limiting Government Growth

Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision of Crypto

Legacy media, thanks to a Bloomberg article, ran wild with fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) this week, regarding a supposed US Department of Justice investigation of price manipulation. Weaker hands in response effectively sent bitcoin core (BTC) well below $8K, heading for 7, and the entire crypto market cap slid accordingly.

Debate about regulation in the US and around the world has raged the entirety of cryptocurrency’s near decade-long life. Bitcoin licensing in New York, senate hearings, G20 central bankers urging global crypto laws, the requisite jockeying and lobbying for exclusive access to regulators, taken together, seems to be slouching toward something major coming down from financial minders. And well-publicized recent hacks haven’t helped confidence. There seems to be a new initial coin offering scam daily. 

DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

Rumors the DOJ is teaming with US bitcoin futures regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and possibly patching-in the US Securities and Exchange Commission can spook animal spirits, of course. Anecdotal evidence abounds. Add to that six rather frightening words, when strung together by regulators, that make speculators’ ears perk, “neither confirm nor deny an investigation” becomes all the evidence anyone needs to dump positions. Even large exchange Bitfinex has been subpoenaed by the CFTC.

The ecosystem’s favorite bull, Thomas Lee of Fundstrat, in a client letter, put a finer point on happenings: “These stories have pressured the crypto market, as regulatory action (and related headline risk) reduces risk appetite and also is a further deterrent for near-term inflows from new investors. However, these actions signal that adult supervision is coming to crypto and adding such oversight incrementally improves the structural integrity and legitimacy for crypto-currency investor. In other words, in order for institutional investors to be more actively engaged in crypto markets, such adult supervision is a necessary precondition.”

Regulation is an Anathema to Bitcoin

Prior to welcoming crypto regulation, Mr. Lee ate a giant, warm slice of humble pie following his Consensus conference bump prediction of many thousands in BTC price increase. Just the reverse, of course, happened, and Mr. Lee, to his credit, reappeared on as many shows to take his medicine. He acknowledged getting it badly wrong, but ultimately attributed the decline due to unforeseen regulatory rumors and, ironically, saturation at the conference of hype.

In a slide presentation graphic, Fundstrat continued to use “welcome,” as in crackdowns being “welcome and also widely anticipated.” On price specific manipulation investigations, they urged “this probe is again, a very welcome development.”

DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

To crypto enthusiasts, they are decidedly torn. On the one hand, nearly everyone will agree bitcoin was developed to essentially leave government regulatory environments. Government regulations are not issued out of benevolence toward the hoi polloi. No, rather they’re instead an effort to pick winners and losers in terms of which sector of businesses lobbied the hardest, greasing wheels of states in their direction. Regulations enforce burdens often on startups, insulating more established and connected businesses from too much competition. Corruption, then, can and does become institutional. Present day banking is proof enough. Bitcoin, in Satoshi’s vision, releases adopters from financial cartels, at least in theory. To invite regulators goes against everything crypto stands for.

On the other hand, regulation does seem to be inevitable. And if it is, shouldn’t the ecosystem get out in front? Seems rational enough, and that’s a generous reading of Mr. Lee and Fundstrat’s comments. Nevertheless, the company remains bullish on bitcoin core (BTC). They point to Coinbase in particular and its staggering growth to 20 million customers, and BTC related wallet downloads of more than 3.5 million. They do, however, hold to a degree of caution if headlines remain negative and mining rewards/price reach parity.

Do you think regulation of crypto is inevitable? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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CFTC Publishes Advisory On Listing Cryptocurrency Derivatives

CFTC Publishes Advisory On Listing Cryptocurrency Derivatives

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued an advisory for exchanges and clearinghouses providing guidance pertaining to the assessment and listing of cryptocurrency derivatives.

Also Read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: Crypto Revolution Starts Reshaping Global Politics

CFTC Issues Advisory Regarding Cryptocurrency Derivatives

CFTC Publishes Advisory On Listing Cryptocurrency DerivativesThe CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) and Division of Clearing and Risk (DCR) have issued a “joint staff advisory that gives exchanges and clearinghouses registered with the CFTC guidance for listing virtual currency derivative products.” In addition to providing guidance regarding “listing a derivative contract based on virtual currency,” the advisory “clarifies the CFTC staffs’ priorities and expectations in its review of new virtual currency derivatives to be listed.”

Amir Zaidi, the DMO director, stated that “The CFTC staff is committed to providing regulatory clarity as much as possible. As the virtual currency market continues to evolve, CFTC staff will seek to provide additional guidance to help market participants keep pace with innovation while complying with CFTC regulations.”

The advisory specifically outlines requirements pertaining to “Enhanced market surveillance,” “coordination with CFTC staff”, “Large trader reporting,” “Outreach to […] market participants,” and “risk management.”

Brian Bussey, the DCR director, said: “CFTC staff is providing this information, in part, to aid market participants in their efforts to design risk management programs that address the new risks imposed by virtual currency products. In addition, the guidance is designed to help ensure that market participants follow appropriate governance processes with respect to the launch of these products.”

CFTC Chairman Discusses Advisory at NASAA Conference

Christopher Giancarlo, the CFTC chairman, mentioned the guidance for cryptocurrency derivatives during a recent speech at the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) conference.

Mr Giancarlo Mr. Giancarlo described the CFTC as having “been at the regulatory horizon on virtual assets,” and stated that the “CFTC staff advisory […] reflect[s] CFTC staff’s current thinking based on our growing experience with virtual currency derivatives,” adding that “As new products are brought forth, staff will reevaluate and revisit the advisory, as necessary, to address any new and emerging issues.”

Do you think cryptocurrency derivatives will be considered a mainstream financial product in ten years? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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