CFTC Chair’s ‘Ether, stablecoins are commodities’ comments stir more trouble

  • Ether and stablecoins are commodities, according to Rostin Benham
  • Opposing viewpoints of different market regulators in the U.S fueling discord and lack of clarity

As the tug of war between U.S regulators over control of crypto-assets continues, the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has tripled down on his position that Ether and stablecoins are commodities.

Stablecoins and Ether are commodities and should be regulated by the CFTC, Rostin Behnam stated again during a recent Senate hearing.

Previously, the CFTC had claimed that certain digital assets, such as Ether, Bitcoin, and Tether, are commodities. Such a claim was made in its mid-December lawsuit against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

During the Senate hearing, Benham was also asked what evidence the CFTC would present to gain regulatory influence over Ether. For his part, he claimed that if the CFTC did not believe Ether is a commodity asset, it would not have allowed Ether Futures products to be listed on CFTC exchanges.


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked the CFTC’s Chairman about the differing views held by the CFTC and the SEC following the CFTC’s 2021 settlement with stablecoin issuer Tether. To the same, Behnam responded,

“Notwithstanding a regulatory framework around stablecoins, they’re going to be commodities in my view.”

He went on to add,

“It was clear to our enforcement team and the commission that Tether, a stablecoin, was a commodity.”

The remark appears to have solidified Behnam’s sometimes shaky stance on Ether classification. During an event held at Princeton University last November, he stated that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that could be considered a commodity, excluding Ether. Only a month prior to this event, he had proposed that Ether be considered a commodity as well.

Behnam’s recent comments contradict SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s claim in a New York Magazine interview last month that “everything except Bitcoin” is a security. A claim that has been criticized by multiple crypto-lawyers.

The opposing viewpoints of different market regulators in the U.S. could create an environment for discord. Especially as each vies for regulatory control of the crypto-industry.