CFTC just gave its employees the green light to trade crypto

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Giancarlo waits to testify on his nomination to be chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in WashingtonThomson Reuters

  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulatory agency overseeing bitcoin futures, says employees can trade crypto.
  • Not everybody thinks this is a good idea.

The regulatory agency charged with overseeing the markets for bitcoin futures in the US gave its employees the green light to trade cryptocurrencies.

That’s according to a Bloomberg News report penned by Robert Schmidt, who wrote employees of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) “can trade digital tokens as long as they don’t buy them on margin or have inside information gleaned from their jobs.”

Employees, however, are not permitted to trade bitcoin futures contracts on the markets operated by Cboe Global Markets or CME Group.

Daniel Davis, the general counsel of the CFTC, told employees in a memo earlier this month that the agency decided on the ruling after an influx of “inquiries.”

CFTC head J. Christopher Giancarlo became a darling of the cryptocurrency community after he delivered remarks to the US Senate alongside Securities and Exchange Commission head Jay Clayton that many interpreted as pro-bitcoin. In the days that followed his address, so-called crypto-Twitter blew up with memes honoring the regulator. 

The reaction to the news that employees of his agency can trade crypto has been less positive. Angela Walch, a professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law who focuses on crypto, told Bloomberg the news is “mind-boggling.”

“It could absolutely skew their regulatory decisions.”

The SEC, according to Bloomberg, also allows its employees to trade crypto. 

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