Release Number 8336-20

LabCFTC Releases Digital Assets Primer

December 17, 2020

— The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today released a Digital Assets Primer to provide updated information to the public about emerging concepts in digital assets. The primer is part of a series issued by the CFTC’s innovation office, LabCFTC, and is the second to delve into issues surrounding digital assets.

“This Digital Asset Primer builds on LabCFTC’s 2017 Primer on Virtual Currencies, which focused on virtual currencies like bitcoin. The focus of this Digital Asset Primer is broader to include not only virtual currency, but also smart contracts and other digitized representations of value or ownership,” said Brian Trackman, LabCFTC Senior Counsel and lead author of the primer.

Digital assets have a varied set of features and applications that touch a range of regulatory domains, including that of the CFTC. The Digital Asset Primer identifies areas and topics for further consideration, including the governance of digital assets and the appropriate role of regulatory authorities like the CFTC.

“The Digital Asset Primer is the latest educational tool from LabCFTC. Issuing primers is core to LabCFTC’s mission to inform policymakers and industry stakeholders on new technologies and innovations,” added LabCFTC Director and Chief Innovation Officer Melissa Netram. “This primer acknowledges the ongoing development in this space and highlights the need for regulatory coordination in this evolving market.”

About LabCFTC

In service to the CFTC’s goal of encouraging innovation and enhancing the regulatory experience for market participants at home and abroad, LabCFTC’s mission is to be the FACE of innovation within the CFTC in promoting responsible innovation among financial industry, stakeholders, and policymakers by:

  • Facilitating dialogue between innovators and those within the CFTC on financial and technological innovations;
  • Advancing policy and regulation in financial innovation;
  • Coordinating internally and externally with International, Federal, and State regulators, organizations, and associations; and
  • Educating internal and external stakeholders on financial technology and innovation in the financial markets to identify how innovations are being used.

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