With virtual currency markets booming and bitcoin prices at record highs, U.S. financial regulators have been—each in its own manner—considering whether and how to regulate virtual currencies and related products.  Last week, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that three futures exchanges—CME, Cboe Futures Exchange, and Cantor Exchange—self-certified
Continue Reading The CFTC Forges Ahead with Listed Bitcoin Derivatives

CFTC Chairman Giancarlo testified this morning that he intends to delay for an additional year a decision on whether to modify the currently effective swap dealer de minimis registration threshold of $8 billion notional of dealing swaps.[1] This request follows on the heels of a recommendation by the U.S. Treasury,
Continue Reading CFTC Chairman Requests Additional Year to Evaluate the Swap Dealer De Minimis Threshold

In a closely watched case, the Seventh Circuit last week affirmed the felony conviction of Michael Coscia, a New Jersey high frequency trader, rejecting his arguments that the anti-spoofing provision in the Commodity Exchange Act under which he was charged is unconstitutionally vague and that the evidence in the
Continue Reading Spoofing Rule Governing Commodities Trading Survives Constitutional Vagueness Challenge in the Seventh Circuit

The CFTC’s position limit rules, which currently apply to limited types of futures contracts and options on futures, include aggregation requirements that specify the circumstances under which positions controlled or held by a person must be counted together for purposes of the position limits.  These aggregation rules were significantly amended
Continue Reading CFTC Staff Extends Position Limit Aggregation Relief

The CFTC staff has once again extended its no-action relief from the “arrange, negotiate or execute” provisions of CFTC Advisory 13-69, the controversial 2013 advisory that applies transaction-level swap requirements based on the involvement of U.S.-located personnel.  Today’s relief differs from previous relief in that it does not have
Continue Reading Further Extension of CFTC “Arrange, Negotiate, Execute” No-Action Relief

The CFTC’s swap reporting rules, which were among the first swap rules finalized after Dodd-Frank, have also been among the most technically difficult for the industry to implement.  Regulatory and market participants agree that these technical difficulties have resulted in poor quality and inconsistent swap data, impeding the goal of
Continue Reading CFTC Begins Review of Swap Reporting Rules with a Welcome Focus on Simplification and Regulatory Coordination

Few have embraced President Trump’s Executive Order on Core Principles for Regulating the U.S. Financial System as swiftly and decisively as CFTC Acting Chair Christopher Giancarlo. His Project KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid, announced within weeks of the Executive Order, is an agency-wide internal review focused on simplifying
Continue Reading CFTC’s Project KISS Gets Underway: Giancarlo Makes the First Move

On the heels of his nomination by President Trump to be Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Commissioner Giancarlo delivered a noteworthy speech outlining his vision for the agency.  He signaled a significant change in direction for the CFTC, refocusing the agency on its core missions—“to foster open, transparent,
Continue Reading The Giancarlo Agenda: The CFTC Gets Back to the Basics

CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad announced this week that he will be stepping down on January 20. Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo, who is the sole Republican currently serving on the Commission, will take over on at least an interim basis.

During his term as a CFTC commissioner, Mr. Giancarlo has published
Continue Reading Possible Priorities for a CFTC Chaired by Commissioner Giancarlo