SEC Chair Gensler: ‘Bitcoin is a Commodity.’ But What About Ethereum?

Updated by Geraint Price
In Brief
  • SEC chair Gary Gensler says bitcoin is a commodity.
  • However, his view is that Ethereum is a security.
  • His pronouncement is crucial as he usually refrains from commenting on projects.
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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler has said that bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that could be considered a commodity. However, the same cannot be said for Ethereum.

“Many of these tokens… the investing public is hoping for a return just like when they invest in other financial assets we call securities. Many of these financial assets, crypto financial assets have the key attributes of a security,” the regulator said.

“Some like bitcoin, and that’s the only one I’m gonna say… my predecessors and others have said, they’re a commodity,” he added.

This came as a crucial statement as Gensler has often refrained from commenting about individual projects. 

As for Ethereum being a security, the chief had said: “We don’t get involved in these types of public forums talking about any one project, one possible circumstance or give legal advice over the airwaves that way.”

The SEC chair has also been pushing a unified regulatory regime for crypto oversight. Recently, Be[In]Crypto reported that Gensler is in the process of striking a formal deal with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to settle the “commodity token” versus “security token” debate.

CFTC and SEC can strike a deal

Earlier, CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam had stated that bitcoin and Ethereum are commodities, implying the agency’s jurisdiction over the virtual assets. 

In addition, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis also introduced the first major bipartisan legislation for crypto assets, including bitcoin and Ethereum, to be treated as commodities by the CFTC.

Gensler, who is also a former head of CFTC, had recently said he was working on a “memorandum of understanding” with the CFTC over crypto jurisdiction

Meanwhile, says Gensler: “There are two great market regulators in this country.” However, the chief also maintained the view that crypto assets are a “highly speculative asset class.”

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