US CTFC gets serious about Ethereum with request for information

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued a press release, requesting feedback and comment from members of the public on the Ethereum blockchain. The Request for Information, which is centered around obtaining large datasets through public input.

The organization has posed a series of questions to the public, with respondents being given 60 days to reply via email, post or by hand. The release reads, “In a Request for Information (RFI) that will be published in the Federal Register, the CFTC is asking for public feedback on a range of questions related to the underlying technology, opportunities, risks, mechanics, use cases, and markets, related to Ether and the Ethereum Network. All comments must be received within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. The RFI also seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between Ether and Bitcoin, as well as Ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”

The answers to the questions will be fed back to LabCTFC – the FinTech project arm of the CTFC, which “is designed to make the CFTC more accessible to FinTech innovators and serves as a platform to inform the Commission’s understanding of emerging technologies.”

The Request for Information divides the questions that the CTFC pose into specific categories. The categories are purpose and functionality, technology, governance, markets, oversights and regulation, and cyber security and custody. Questions mostly assume a good level of knowledge and are open to interpretation. Including questions about the mechanics of using the Ethereum blockchain, there is also a direct reference to a potential consensus shift in Ethereum, from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. The question reads:

“There are reports of disagreements within the Ether community over the proposed transition to a proof of stake consensus model. Could this transition from a proof of work to a proof of stake verification process result in a fragmented or diminished Ether market if the disagreements are not resolved?”

This is a particularly pertinent question now, especially in light of recent announcements regarding Constantinople’s expected release date. Indeed, increased interest in Ethereum from a body such as the CTFC can only be a positive in the current climate. And the Constantinople discussions did have a temporary positive spiking effect on Ethereum’s price, although it has since dropped back to around the $86 mark.

Amongst the other 25 questions were those related to the differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin. It is here where developers will certainly deliver the most passionate responses, as many feel that Ethereum’s journey has been entirely based on reacting to perceived negatives in Bitcoin’s system. And in weighing up the opportunities and challenges associated with using Ethereum certainly seems to suggest that the US CTFC are preparing for a larger research fund in 2019.

At the time of writing, Ethereum was down just over 2.5%, to $86.85, from a high of well over $1300 back in January this year.

 
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