CFTC Chair Warns of More Regulatory Crackdowns on Crypto Firms


Rostin Behnam, the chair of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has signaled that regulators will continue to intensify scrutiny of cryptocurrency firms as long as the market remains attractive to investors.

Speaking at the 2024 Global Conference on May 6, Behnam highlighted the ongoing growth of the crypto market, which has continued to attract both investors and entrepreneurs despite setbacks such as the downturn in 2022 and the subsequent bankruptcies of several companies. 

CFTC Chair Talks Crypto Regulations

Behnam did not specify whether the CFTC or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would lead the enforcement actions; both regulatory bodies have active lawsuits against numerous crypto firms.

“We’re going to probably see in the next 6 to 18 months, or 6 to 24 months, another cycle of enforcement actions because of this cycle of asset appreciation and interest by retail investors,” stated Behnam. “Without a regulatory framework, without that transparency, without those tools that we typically use, as regulators, you’re going to continue to see this fraud and manipulation.”

Bringing Crypto Firms Under the Regulatory Umbrella

Behnam echoed the sentiment that bringing crypto firms under the regulatory umbrella was crucial. Currently, members of the House of Representatives are awaiting a floor vote on legislation that would clarify the roles of the SEC and CFTC regarding digital assets, a bill that moved out of committee in July 2023.

A report by Cornerstone Research released in January revealed that the SEC brought the highest number of crypto-related enforcement cases in 2023 since 2013. The regulator has pending cases against major U.S. crypto firms such as Kraken, Binance, and Coinbase. Additionally, it issued a Wells notice, often a precursor to enforcement action, to Robinhood Crypto on May 4.

CFTC Actions Against Crypto Firms

Behnam previously mentioned that roughly a third of all enforcement actions taken by the CFTC against crypto firms occurred in 2023. In November, the CFTC reported initiating 47 actions in the digital asset commodities sector. 

These cases included legal actions against notable figures like former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky. Moreover, the Commission was involved in the $4.3 billion settlement between Binance and U.S. authorities in November.

As the crypto market continues to evolve, regulators like the CFTC and SEC are working to establish clear frameworks to protect investors and maintain market integrity, signaling more rigorous enforcement actions in the months ahead.

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