The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has put out a Request for Information (RFI) asking for public remark and criticism to facilitate a better understanding of Ether and the Ethereum blockchain as it looks to expand its cryptocurrency awareness base beyond Bitcoin.
In a press release dated December 11, the regulator stated that it is seeking the feedback to increase an understanding of the mechanics, technology and markets for cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin which has historically dominated the conversation.
The RFI will acknowledge responses for 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. Clarifying what the information request seeks to achieve, an extract from the announcement reads:
“In a Request for Information (RFI) that will be published in the Federal Register, the CFTC is asking for public feedback on a range of questions related to the underlying technology, opportunities, risks, mechanics, use cases, and markets, related to Ether and the Ethereum Network. […] The RFI also seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between Ether and Bitcoin, as well as Ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
According to the statement, the information collected in the period of the exercise will be used to advance the CFTC’s knowledge bank in the field of cryptocurrencies, which will position it for efficient regulation as the space continues to expand. The data and responses gathered will also be utilized to inform the activities LabCFTC, the body’s Fintech initiative that aims to remove the gap between the regulator and financial innovators.
The statement could be an indication at the preliminary workings of an Ether futures trading framework. Till date, the only cryptocurrency with regulated futures trading is Bitcoin – a state of affairs that has historically fuelled its outsized crypto market dominance. In November, TCU reported that Nasdaq is scheduling to introduce a dedicated Bitcoin Futures market before the end of Q1 2019 after working through an approval process with the CFTC.
If it does turn out that the CFTC is in the initial stages of exploring consent for Ether futures, this could have a noteworthy positive impact on Ethereum following its recent dethronement by Ripple to become only the third most capitalised cryptocurrency.
In line with the CFTC’s pro-innovation attitude, the RFI is one of a number of methods that it deploys to certify that its regulatory system does not result in overreach which stifles novelty according to University of Arkansas law lecturer Carol Goforth. CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo is himself notably pro-crypto, recently declaring that crypto is “here to stay“, whether or not it upstages the US Dollar as the de-facto world reserve currency.