The US Senate Agriculture Committee (SAC) plans to introduce a bill classifying bitcoin as a digital commodity.
This category is fairly new. The question of what exactly bitcoin is has been around for years. Does it fall under securities laws, is it a commodity or is it a class of its own?
Currently, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) oversees the regulation of commodity derivatives, rather than the underlying commodity itself. The SEC, on the other hand, has so far focused mainly on crypto-currencies.
With the bill, SAC wants the CFTC to also regulate the spot market for digital commodities. This means that the regulator will then also have responsibility for trading in the underlying commodity. Bitcoin, that is. At least, that is the idea with this proposal.
The bill also excludes securities from being designated as a digital commodity at the same time. Therefore, all cryptocurrencies that are labelled as a security will fall under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instead of the CFTC. The SEC will therefore mainly focus on crypto-exchanges as securities exchanges.
Better definitions for brokers, dealers, custodians and similar parties are also needed.
SAC Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, together with Republican John Boozman, wants to introduce the bill as soon as possible. CFTC chairman Rostin Behnam states that the regulator is ready for this step.
It is therefore a bill, a bill. This means that it is not (yet) a law that will be implemented.