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It’s ‘unclear’ whether XRP is security or commodity, says CFTC Chairman

Yogita Khatri

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Heath Tarbert has said that it is not clear yet whether XRP is a security or a commodity.

“It’s unclear. Stay tuned I’d say,” Tarbert told news outlet Cheddar on Monday, adding: "Part of the issue is that our jurisdiction we share with the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission]. If it’s a security, it falls under their jurisdiction. If it’s a commodity, it falls under ours.”

The chairman added that the CFTC has been working closely with the SEC over the last year “to really think about which falls in what box."

Bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), on the other hand, are commodities and not securities, according to Tarbert, who reiterated his views in Monday’s interview. Last October, he said: “We’ve been very clear on bitcoin: bitcoin is a commodity. We haven’t said anything about ether – until now. It is my view as chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity.”

The status of XRP, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency, has been a topic of debate. In 2018, a group of XRP investors filed a lawsuit against Ripple and its executives, claiming that they violated state and federal securities laws. Later, the group filed an amended complaint. The case is still ongoing. Ripple, on its part, has maintained its position that XRP is not a security “because it is not an ‘investment contract.’”

Elsewhere in Monday's interview, Tarbert said regulated cryptocurrency derivatives will drive confidence in the market. He added that the CFTC is helping create a regulated crypto futures market that investors would be able to "rely on" for better "price discovery, hedging and risk management."