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ETH can be a security and a commodity: Former CFTC commissioner

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Ethereum’s native Ether (ETH) token may be both a commodity and a security, the former commissioner of the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission has claimed.Speaking on a May 23 episode of Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast, Dan Berkovitz, who is also the former general counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said that it’s legally possible for ETH to fall under the jurisdiction of both regulatory agencies.

The ongoing confusion over Ether’s legal status stems in large part from conflicting statements from the CFTC and the SEC. Over the course of the last six months, the CFTC has repeatedly called Ether, along with a number of other cryptocurrencies, a commodity.

Meanwhile, the Gary Gensler-led SEC hasn’t explicitly provided Ether with a designated legal category. Gensler said at an oversight hearing in April that everything but Bitcoin (BTC) should be deemed a security and has refused to further elaborate.While the claim that Ether could be simultaneously a security and commodity may strike many as a contradiction, Berkovitz said that due to the overlapping legal definitions of commodities and securities it’s possible for an asset to be classified as both.

Berkovitz explained the confusion arises because commodities aren’t purely physical items like “wheat” or “oats” and that anything that falls under the purview of a “futures contract” can technically be defined as a commodity.

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