Clear as Mud: Cryptos Are Commodities and Securities?

• Former CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkowitz has questioned the status of cryptocurrency assets, suggesting they can be both commodities and securities.
• CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam also addressed this issue in a Bloomberg podcast, saying that cryptocurrencies could be considered commodities.
• It is still unclear how crypto companies and exchanges should approach compliance with these conflicting opinions.

Cryptocurrency Status Unclear

The status of cryptocurrency assets has been brought into question by former CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkowitz. He suggested that it is possible for crypto to be both commodities and securities, contrary to the opinion of Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler who believes they are all securities with investment contracts. The confusion over regulations left crypto companies and exchanges unsure of how to approach compliance efforts.

CFTC Chairman Speaks Out

CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam discussed the matter further in a Bloomberg podcast released on May 23rd, claiming that cryptocurrencies could be viewed as commodities under the CEA Commodity Exchange Act. This led to even more confusion over the regulatory standing of digital assets such as Ethereum.

Ethereum: A Special Case?

Dan Berkowitz stated that Ethereum presents a “special case” where an asset can be classified as both a commodity and security – similar to a futures contract on Apple stock. It remains unclear whether this logic applies to other layer-1 blockchains or not.

Compliance Concerns

The conflicting views on cryptocurrency from various regulators has caused concern among crypto companies and exchanges regarding their compliance efforts going forward. With no clear consensus amongst industry leaders, it may prove difficult for them to make any concrete decisions about their legal obligations moving forward until further clarification is provided from either the SEC or CFTC.


Despite conversations around its classification in recent weeks, there is still no definitive answer as to whether cryptocurrency should fall under commodity or security regulations – leaving companies uncertain about how best to approach compliance issues in order for them to remain within legal boundaries when dealing with digital assets like Ethereum.