Rostin Behnam, the Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), expressed his fears about the recently approved spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the United States, stating that the approval poses risks for investors.
It is important to note that on January 10, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) simultaneously approved eleven applications for spot BTC ETFs filed by leading asset management firms like BlackRock, Grayscale, Fidelity, and ARK Invest.
CFTC Chair has Alarming Concerns
The CFTC Chair noted in prepared remarks at an American Bar Association event that the lack of regulatory oversight in the digital asset sector poses risks for investors who are putting their money in spot BTC ETFs.
Behnam noted that, with the approval of exchange-traded products (ETPs), a huge number of American investors now have access to the digital asset class.
‘Opaque and Inconsistent Practices’
The CFTC Chair pointed out that “there remains nothing firmly in place to address the opaque and inconsistent practices in the cash markets for digital assets around issues such as trade settlement, conflicts of interest, data reporting, cybersecurity, customer protections, transparency, and general market integrity,” while adding:
“I fear that the regulatory approval of bitcoin ETPs introduces risk that, in spite of yellow flags, market participants, retail and institutional alike, may mistake the technical approval of a product—with actual regulatory oversight of the cash commodity digital assets.”
CFTC Chair Calls for Regulation of Crypto
Behnam called for the regulation of the digital asset sector while noting that none of the regulatory agencies have been given authority by Congress over the cash markets for digital assets. Meanwhile, regulators have been working consistently to regulate crypto, with one of the bills giving the CFTC power over the cash market.
“The concerns I have publicly voiced for the better part of six years regarding the digital asset commodity spot market have only become magnified,” Behnam said. “The need for federal legislation over cash market digital assets has never been more critical, and I will continue my call for action.”
Spot ETFs Surpass Billions in Trading Volume
The CFTC Chair’s concerns come amid the surge in trading volume of the spot Bitcoin ETFs, which crossed the $4.5 billion mark on the very first day of trading.
Interestingly, Behnam’s agency has also initiated crackdowns on digital asset companies that it believes are the bad actors in the industry, becoming the “premier enforcement agency in the space.”
The agency recently settled its lawsuit with Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume.
Additionally, the CFTC has rained heavily on the bad actors in the crypto space, taking legal action against the former Voyager Digital CEO and initiating crackdowns on the operations of three DeFi protocols, including Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex.