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CFTC Appoints Bitcoin Expert, First 2016 Meeting Will Have Blockchain Focus

Op-ed - CFTC Appoints Bitcoin Expert

Every financial regulatory body around the world seems to be trying to wrap their heads around Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology these days, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC
) in the United States is not immune to this trend.

Simply defining bitcoin as an asset has proved to be a difficult task for many regulatory agencies around the world, as some claim it is a commodity while others view it as a currency
. The CFTC ruled
that bitcoin is a commodity in late 2015.

To gain a better understanding of Bitcoin, the blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, the CFTC is adding an experienced bitcoin trading expert, LedgerX
CEO Paul L. Chou
, to their committee of technology advisers. The independent agency of the U.S. government will also take time to focus on these new technologies in their first meeting of 2016.

LedgerX CEO Paul L. Chou Appointed to Technology Committee

The CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee
(TAC) was originally created in 1999 with the purpose of advising the regulatory body on the impact new technologies could have on futures markets. Regulatory and legislative recommendations are also made by the TAC. Current members of the committee include CME Group CCM Bryan Durkin, Credit Suisse Managing Director Jeffrey Jennings, Goldman Sachs Managing Director Pierre Lamy, and BlackRock Managing Director Supurna VedBrat.

Paul L. Chou worked at Goldman Sachs creating and operating algorithmic trading strategies before transitioning to the Bitcoin world in 2011. With his company, LedgerX, Chou intends to build the first fully-regulated and CFTC-approved exchange for trading bitcoin options. Chou has bachelors degrees in computer science and mathematics from MIT.

First Meeting of 2016 to Cover Bitcoin and Blockchain

In addition to adding a bitcoin luminary to their technology team, the CFTC also plans to focus on Bitcoin and the blockchain during their first meeting of 2016. The public meeting will take place on January 26th at 9:45 a.m. in Washington, D.C. The specific aspect of the blockchain that will be focused on is the potential of this new technology for derivatives markets.

Members of the public may submit written statements in connection with the meeting. In addition to Bitcoin and blockchain technology, the CFTC will also cover the proposed Regulation Automated Trading
and swap data standardization.

More Details on LedgerX

LedgerX is one of the few Bitcoin-related companies that involves a large number of individuals who have high levels of experience in finance and regulatory compliance. LedgerX’s board of directors includes Former CFTC Chairman Jim Newsome
and former Ameritrade CEO Tom Lewis. Former CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen also sits on the board of the LedgerX holding company, Ledger Holdings Inc. Google Ventures
was an early investor in the trading platform.

LedgerX is currently awaiting regulatory approval from the CFTC to trade and clear bitcoin options. With such close ties to the industry’s main regulatory body in the United States, it would seem approval of this exchange and clearinghouse is imminent.

Kyle Torpey is a freelance journalist who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. His work has been featured on VICE Motherboard, Business Insider, RT’s Keiser Report, and many other media outlets. You can follow @kyletorpey
on Twitter.