Heath Tarbert, the Chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has now confirmed to the public that the Ether (ETH) digital asset is a commodity. Tarbert explained this at a recent Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit.
According to him, the CFTC has before now, not made any real pronouncements on Ether and he would like to set the record straight. Tarbert said:
“We’ve been very clear on Bitcoin: Bitcoin is a commodity. We haven’t said anything about ether – until now. It is my view as chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity.”
Among other things, Tarbert has suggested that the CFTC is currently collaborating with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on both BTC and ETH, and have jointly agreed that they are both commodities. Tarbert then said there’s a good enough chance that the CFTC could approve ETH futures in the U.S. sometime soon.
Tarbert has also spoken on digital assets that were created from forking another asset. According to him, the designation of such an asset should be entirely predicated on the original one it forked from.
“It stands to reason that similar assets should be treated similarly. If the underlying asset, the original digital asset, hasn’t been determined to be a security and is therefore a commodity, most likely the forked asset will be the same. Unless the fork itself raises some securities law issues under that classic Howey Test.”
Tarbet believes that assets should first be tested as securities and that if they aren’t securities, then they are commodities.