United States CFTC Clears Employees to Trade Crypto

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are the two governing subcommittees tasked with researching and eventually regulating cryptocurrencies. In recent weeks, both have gone on record in support of cryptocurrency and have noted the potential benefits of blockchain technology.

In a report today from Bloomberg, after “numerous” employee inquiries, the CFTC stated in an internal memo that CFTC employees were allowed to invest in cryptocurrencies, so long as there is not a “conflict of interest’ as a result of cryptocurrencies they own - meaning, employees cannot participate in any research or regulatory action related to personal investments.

The memo sent around by CFTC’s general counsel, Daniel Davis, states that employees need to consider ethical standards:

"In this environment, the situation is ripe for the public to question the personal ethics of employees engaging in cryptocurrency transactions. Please keep in mind that you must endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that you are violating the law or government and commission ethical standards.”

In addition to barring employees from participating in investigations related to their own personal crypto investments, CFTC employees are also banned from margin and futures trading, as well as using any inside information gained as a direct result of their employment with the CFTC.

A spokeswoman for CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, who earlier in the month stated that the US would take a “do no harm” approach to crypto, said the chairman made it clear that staff members who own crypto should not participate in matters related to it. 

Giancarlo has been considered a hero by the cryptocurrency community, with his Twitter followers increasing ten-fold after the early February commission on cryptocurrency. Giancarlo has been supportive of cryptocurrency dating as far back as 2017, when Giancarlo first allowed two US-based exchanges to offer Bitcoin futures trading.

The SEC, however, which is primarily focused on ICOs, requires its staff to pre-clear all digital currency trades, and cannot invest in a digital currency until seven days after an ICO.

In other news, the deputy attorney general of the US said on Tuesday that the Trump administration is working on a “comprehensive strategy” around cryptocurrencies. The comments were made in reference to cybercrime involving crypto.