LabCFTC Releases Primer on Virtual Currencies: CFTC FinTech Hub Launches Educational Tool for Innovators and Clarifies Jurisdiction Over Virtual Currencies

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - October 19, 2017

On October 17, 2017, LabCFTC, the focal point for the efforts of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to promote financial technology, released an educational primer on virtual currencies. The primer is intended to provide an overview of virtual currencies and distributed ledgers, as well as their respective potential applications, and to explain the CFTC’s role and oversight in the sector. In the primer, the CFTC reaffirmed that many virtual currencies (including bitcoin and ether) are “commodities” for purposes of the  Commodity Exchange Act and therefore that its jurisdiction extends to derivatives (i.e., futures, swaps and options) on virtual currencies.