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CFTC Chairman Benham Says 1/5th of All Their Criminal Prosecutions Were Crypto Related

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Behnam, the CFTC Chair, praised (1) the 69 digital enforcement measures his agency has taken while talking at the American Bar Association. As per him, these actions prove that his agency is determined to bring down corrupt individuals this year.

According to Behnam, during the 2022 fiscal year, the agency levied more than $2 billion in reparations, disgorgements, and criminal monetary penalties. Given the restricted jurisdiction of the CFTC, the chair finds that one-fifth of all criminal prosecutions were connected to crypto currency to be significant.

Regarding crypto currencies, the CFTC is now in charge of regulating the derivatives markets in the United States, which includes the Bitcoin futures market.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, its sister organization, has repeatedly turned down proposals for a spot Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund because the underlying market is susceptible to manipulation.

The chair stressed the need to have "comprehensive" regulations in place. According to Behnam's argument, customers require protection in the form of regulation, and failures with effects that may extend beyond national boundaries must be avoided.

"There is a new Congress, and I will continue to participate in legislative drafting and give technical support if needed," he added.

In August of 2022, United States Senators Debbie Stabenow, John Boozman, and John Thune filed The Digital Commodity Exchange Act of 2022 to have crypto currencies fall under the purview of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

In contrast to the method used by the SEC, which has opted chiefly to punish rather than regulate, Behnam's strategy takes a two-pronged approach.

Following the failure of FTX, some participants in the sector, such as Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy and Brian Armstrong of Coinbase, have urged for increased clarity in the regulatory framework.

On the other hand, the chairman of the SEC, Gary Gensler, has not wavered from his position and continues to argue that there is no need for further rules since the current securities laws are sufficient.

In 2022 alone, the government took thirty different crypto-related enforcement actions, effectively laying down the rules. As of the end of the year 2022, the government had levied civil fines against firms that had conducted initial coin offerings totaling $2.06 billion.

Crypto Crash on the Agenda of Senators Meet

After the failure of FTX, the Senate Agricultural and Banking Committee held a hearing on December 1, 2022, to address corrective steps that should be taken. Behnam was the only witness at the meeting.

During the hearing, Behnam advocated for expanding the FTC's scope of jurisdiction by asking Congress to do so. On January 3, 2023, the new session of Congress began, and members were immediately confronted with several crypto proposals vying for their attention.

The recent crypto market crisis, precipitated by the failure of FTX, will be the topic of discussion in a hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee on February 14, 2023.

After the failure of the Bahamian exchange FTX in November 2022, this hearing will be the second in as many months. It will be titled "Crypto Crash: Why Financial System Safeguards are Needed for Digital Assets," which will take place.

At the last hearing, which occurred on December 14, 2022, witnesses included Hollywood actor and Bitcoin critic Ben McKenzie and Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary.