President Biden named Rostin Behnam to head up the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), setting the stage for widespread reform as the derivatives regulator takes on the booming institutional adoption in the burgeoning cryptocurrency space.
Behnam Will Become Next CFTC Chair
According to Bloomberg, Behnam has been officially picked to fill the position that has been rather rudderless ever since Heath Tarbert resigned earlier this year. It should be noted that he has been overseeing the swaps and futures markets on an interim basis since January when Biden took office. Behnam has, however, not been nominated or confirmed by the Senate.
Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that his appointment on a permanent basis will be officially announced in the coming weeks.
If he is confirmed and nominated, he will join former CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler who was recently confirmed as the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after being chosen by Biden. Behnam has served as a CFTC commissioner since 2017.
Behnam Could Build Or Destroy The U.S. Crypto Market
Rostin Behnam grabbed the headlines in 2020 after he commissioned a report that called for better pricing of carbon in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Democrat also recommended an array of steps by federal financial watchdogs to incorporate climate-related strategies into their rules for banks and other firms.
Additionally, Behnam established a new climate risk division in March that would focus on the role of the derivatives in curbing greenhouse carbon emissions. This move was part of a wider push on climate change among regulators under the Biden Administration.
Behnam could either make or break the crypto market while he’s at the helm of the CFTC. Though the Bitcoin Mining Council estimated in July that the global mining sector had surpassed 56% sustainable power mix in Q2 2021, up from 36.8% in the previous quarter, the recently passed crypto tax rules in the $1.2 trillion controversial infrastructure bill disregarded these reports.
Given Behnam’s eco-friendly stance, we could see him going after derivatives and crypto trading activities that consume insane amounts of energy.
The CFTC has played a key role in high-profile enforcement actions in recent years. The regulator imposed a $6.5m fine against Coinbase exchange in March for alleged false reporting and wash trading.
Most recently, CFTC reached a settlement with BitMEX derivatives exchange after it agreed to pay a fine of $100 million to resolve charges brought against it by the CFTC and the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).