The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has formally allowed its employees to trade cryptocurrencies, but maintained its ban on Bitcoin futures participation, Bloomberg reports Wednesday, Feb. 28.
The regulator, which together with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversee asset and commodity legislation nationally, report that they made the decision earlier this month.
The CFTC chief lawyer, general counsel Daniel Davis, wrote in a memo to staff Feb. 5 that in response to “numerous inquiries [sic]” they could freely engage in the trading of cryptocurrencies.
Investing in Bitcoin futures products, which the CFTC began regulating after giving them the green light in December, would continue to be against the rules, however.
“In this environment, the situation is ripe for the public to question the personal ethics of employees engaging in cryptocurrency transactions,” Bloomberg quotes Davis as writing. The staff memo reportedly continues:
“Please keep in mind that you must endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that you are violating the law or government and commission ethical standards.”
CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo joined SEC chairman Jay Clayton for a dedicated hearing on cryptocurrency Feb. 6, during which the regulators continued their broadly hands-off regulatory policy, focusing on investor awareness and consumer fraud protection.
In response to whether newly-liberated CFTC traders could have a hand in shaping that ongoing policy, Giancarlo’s spokesperson Erica Richardson was clear, stating:
“The chairman has made it clear that staff members who own Bitcoin should not participate in matters related to Bitcoin, as it presents a conflict of interest.”