The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today launched a virtual currency resource Web page, cftc.gov/bitcoin. This dedicated page is a central repository for Commission-produced resources about virtual currency and is designed to educate and inform the public about these commodities, including the possible risks associated with investing or speculating in virtual currencies or recently launched Bitcoin futures and options.
The newly launched Web page provides quick access to the CFTC’s virtual currency primer; CFTCTalks podcast episode featuring CFTC staff discussing virtual currencies; LabCFTC, the Commission’s FinTech effort; and a fact sheet explaining the CFTC’s role in oversight of virtual currencies.
Additionally, the CFTC today released a Customer Advisory, titled “Understand the Risks of Virtual Currency Trading” (see PAGE 2 below.) This advisory details the risks of purchasing virtual currencies in the cash market, in addition to those risks present in virtual currency futures and options.
The CFTC’s Jurisdiction and Virtual Currencies
Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been determined to be commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). The Commission primarily regulates commodity derivatives contracts that are based on underlying commodities. While its regulatory oversight authority over commodity cash markets is limited, the CFTC maintains general anti-fraud and manipulation enforcement authority over virtual currency cash markets as a commodity in interstate commerce.