Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies


Today, FinTech is driving innovation in financial markets across the globe. New technologies are wide-ranging in scope, from cloud computing and algorithmic trading to distributed ledgers to artificial intelligence and machine learning to network cartography, and many others. These technologies have the potential for significant or even transformational impact on CFTC-regulated markets and the agency itself. One of the most recent marketplace developments driving a lot of interest is the rise in prominence of virtual currencies, specifically bitcoin. Below are resources for market participants and customers on virtual currency and the CFTC's role in oversight of this emerging innovation.





  • Chamber of Digital Commerce
    On this CFTC Talks, we bring on Chamber of Digital Commerce’s President Perianne Boring and General Counsel Amy Davine Kim to discuss the mission of the Chamber, and where they see digital assets/blockchain-based technologies are heading. 03/02/201
  • Alex Rampell, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
    On this CFTC Talks, CFTC's Dan Gorfine and Andy Busch bring on Alex Rampell of Andreessen Horowitz to lead a discussion on fintech investments. We cover a wide range of fintech issues from cryptocurrencies to blockchain (what it's not) and AI. 01/19/2018
  • Peter Van Valkenburgh
    Hear from the Director of Research Peter Van Valkenburgh on this episode of CFTC Talks to learn about the key new innovation underneath bitcoin, the consensus mechanism, as well as how and why bitcoins are created. 12/29/2017
  • Roundtable with CFTC Leaders on Bitcoin
    This episode of CFTC Talks features a roundtable made up of CFTC leaders to discuss bitcoin, the self-certification process of new contracts on bitcoin, and the CFTC role in regulating the new derivatives contracts. 12/06/2017
  • Daniel Gorfine, CFTC Chief Innovation Officer
    We bring on Daniel Gorfine, CFTC’s Chief Innovation Officer to cover fintech virtual currencies, blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT), and smart contracts. 11/03/2017



Customer Advisories


  • Beware Virtual Currency Pump-and-Dump Schemes
    This customer advisory highlights virtual currency pump-and-dump schemes that occur in the largely unregulated cash market for virtual currencies and digital tokens, and typically on platforms that offer a wide array of coin pairings for traders to buy and sell. 02/15/2018
  • Beware of “IRS Approved” Virtual Currency IRAs
    This customer advisory is designed to encourage investors to be cautious of sales pitches touting “IRS approved” or “IRA approved” virtual currency retirement accounts. Virtual currency prices sometimes experience wild price swings. This volatility is not reduced or limited just because the virtual currencies are held in an IRA. 02/02/2018
  • Risks of Virtual Currency Trading
    This customer advisory covers virtual currency and how it is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value, but it does not have legal tender status. 12/15/2017





  • CFTC Backgrounder on Oversight of and Approach to Virtual Currency Futures Markets
    This backgrounder brings clarity to federal oversight of and jurisdiction over virtual currencies, the self-certification process, and the constituencies the CFTC believes could be impacted by virtual currency futures. 01/04/2018
  • A CFTC Primer on Virtual Currencies
    This primer provides an overview of virtual currencies and their potential uses, helps outline the CFTC's role and oversight of virtual currencies, and cautions investors and users of the potential risks involved with virtual currencies. 10/17/2017
  • CFTC Backgrounder on Self-Certified Contracts for Bitcoin Products
    The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) and the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) self-certified new contracts for bitcoin futures products and the Cantor Exchange self-certified a new contract for bitcoin binary options. This backgrounder outlines the CFTC self-certification process as well as the CFTC's role in oversight of virtual currencies.
  • Guidance Regarding Ethics Laws and Regulations Related to Employee Holdings and Transactions in Cryptocurrencies
    The CFTC's General Counsel has issued this ethics guidance to all CFTC staff regarding employee holdings and transactions in cryptocurrencies. Employees of government agencies, like the CFTC, are subject to long established laws and regulations on conflicts of interest, insider trading, and ownership restrictions of regulated assets. 02/05/2018





  • Bitcoin Basics
    This downloadable brochure provides basic information about what bitcoin is, what the CFTC’s jurisdiction covers, and how virtual currencies can be a target for fraud and for hackers. If you’re new to bitcoin, this guide provides an introduction and points you to more information about bitcoin and its risks.
  • An Introduction to Virtual Currency
    This downloadable brochure is a quick guide to virtual currencies that covers how virtual currencies can be purchased, why they are considered commodities, and what types of fraud can be found in the market. Use this guide to explore the world of virtual currencies and learn about potential risks.


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