CFTC to regulate Bitcoin?

Bitcoiners, Bart Chilton is here to protect you. In a Monday interview on Bitcoin with the Financial Times the CFTC’s lead commissioner Bart said “It’s not monopoly money we’re talking about here – real people can have real risk in these instruments, and we need to ensure that we protect markets and consumers, even in what at first blush appear to be ‘out there’ transactions.”

Another regulator with their eye on the currency can only add to the headache that US based Bitcoin businesses are already experiencing as they try to sort through the implications of FinCEN’s recent guidance and deal with scared banks closing their accounts.

As Bitcoin is a global, non-political currency the obvious question is will heavy regulation simply move Bitcoin businesses off shore? This possibility isn’t lost on the Financial Times who discussed this with Bitcoin entrepreneur Roger Ver. The founder said that he knew of a few Bitcoin entrepreneurs who had moved to Panama to look into basing their businesses outside the US adding “Even if US regulations make it hard for Bitcoin businesses to operate in the US, that doesn’t mean it will make it difficult for people to use Bitcoin as a currency in the US. Bitcoin is a world currency,”

Chilton is head of the CFTC, that’s the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As Bitcoin is not a traditional commodity one might not think of the CFTC as a Bitcoin regulator. However, the regulator has broad authority and certainly Mr. Chilton sees his organization as having authority. Reuters is reporting him as saying “Here’s what I know for sure: we could regulate it if we wanted. That is very clear,”