The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) New York-based LabCFTC has released a twenty-page primer (the “Primer”) about virtual currencies, virtual tokens and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It’s the first in a series of educational primers that LabCFTC will issue in the coming months about innovations in the FinTech industry.
The Primer answers important questions about how CFTC regulations apply to virtual currencies, virtual tokens and ICOs. Notably, the Primer reiterates that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are appropriately categorized as commodities and also states that virtual tokens can in some instances be commodities or derivatives contracts even if they are also considered to be securities under the U.S. securities laws. The Primer notes that, in applying U.S. commodity futures laws to virtual tokens, the CFTC will look beyond form and examine the “actual substance and purpose” of particular activities.