The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has just allowed its employees to invest in and trade cryptocurrencies. This poses a risk of conflict of interest.
A few weeks ago, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), tasked with maintaining open and safe markets, became involved for the first time with cryptocurrency. The agency is now tasked with overseeing bitcoin futures—the market in which investors bet on the value of bitcoin without actually investing in the currency itself. Now, the CFTC is letting its employees get in on the action—they are now allowed to invest and trade cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reports.
The CFTC doesn’t regulate cryptocurrency per se, but gets involved whenever any cryptocurrency is involved in fraud, or if it’s traded illegally. Because bitcoin is the most popular, the agency has largely focused its efforts on it.
This new rule comes after the commission’s ethics office received a number of internal inquiries about the possibility to buy and trade crypto, the report continues.
The new rule doesn’t mean that employees will get to do whatever they want, the CFTC insists. Employees won’t be allowed to invest in the bitcoin futures the CFTC oversees, because that would represent a clear conflict of interest. They are also forbidden to buy or trade crypto coins taking advantage of the confidential information they can access through their jobs, because that’s insider trading, which is illegal.