CFTC charges crypto futures trader for failure to register in the US

On Monday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed charges against Laino Group for soliciting U.S. investors to trade in futures on commodities including Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin without registering with the commission.

Per the CFTC’s complaint the St. Vincent-registered Laino Group, doing business as PaxForex, used a network of U.S.-based affiliates to solicit American retail investors. In doing so, Laino Group violated the Commodity Exchange Act.

The CFTC did not specify the extent of Laino Group’s activities. The commission’s request for relief indeed suggest that they themselves don’t know how much the trading platform took in without registering. In addition to calling for full return of all funds accumulated, the CFTC’s complaint asks for:

An order directing that Defendant, and any successor thereof, make an accounting to the Court of all of its assets and liabilities, together with all funds it received from and paid to customers.

Particularly noteworthy here is the jurisdictional boundary being established. The CFTC has consistently called Bitcoin a commodity in recent years. The appearance of Ether and Litecoin in a list with Bitcoin as well as traditional commodities like gold and silver within an action from the CFTC suggests that the Commission is treating these others as commodities as well, which CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert suggested last year. 

The question of which cryptocurrencies should be under CFTC jurisdiction came up in a pair of bills introduced to the House of Representatives last week.

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