Heath Tarbert (the Chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission) has confirmed that the Ether (ETH), digital asset, is a commodity. Tarbert stated this at a Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit.
He stated that the CFTC had not yet made any pronouncements about Ether. Tarbert stated:
“We have been very clear about Bitcoin: Bitcoin can be considered a commodity. We have not said anything about Ethereum – at least, not yet. As chairman of the CFTC, I believe that ether is a commodity.
Tarbert suggested, among other things, that the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission are currently collaborating on BTC and ETH. They have also agreed that they are commodities. Tarbert stated that there is a good chance that the CFTC will approve ETH Futures in the U.S. soon.
Tarbert also spoke about digital assets that are created by forking over another asset. He stated that the identity of such assets should be based on the origin asset it was forked from.
It stands to reason that assets of similar nature should be treated the same way. The forked asset will most likely be the same as the original digital asset if the underlying asset has not been determined to be security. Unless the fork raises securities law issues according to the classic Howey Test,
Tarbet believes assets should be first tested as securities. If they aren’t securities, they can be considered commodities.