Akin Gump Article, in Business Law Today, Analyzes Court Decision on Cryptocurrency Regulation

Business Law Today, a publication of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section, has published the article “Federal Judge Adopts CFTC Position That Cryptocurrencies Are Commodities.” The authors are James Benjamin and Peter Altman, partners in the litigation practice at Akin Gump; JP Bruynes, a partner in the investment management practice; Nicholas Adams, a litigation counsel; and Kelly Handschumacher, a litigation associate.

The article examines a ruling by a federal judge last month holding that “virtual currencies are commodities that can be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.” It is the first time, the authors write, that a court has weighed in on the issue.

The authors proceed to describe the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies. They highlight various statements by the Securities and Exchange Commission, including one last December “asserting that many products marketed as cryptocurrencies in fact function as securities, requiring registration with the SEC unless exempted.” They also look at how the Internal Revenue Service has viewed the matter.

In conclusion, the article notes that the court decision “does not preclude other agencies from regulating cryptocurrencies when they function differently than derivative commodities, at least until Congress sees fit to enact a more tailored regulatory scheme.”

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.