Ether Is a Commodity, Hilariously Insists CFTC Chair in the Face of SEC’s Claims

Having a healthy disagreement about laws and regulations is only natural, but trust the Cryptoverse to make it a hilarious affair. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Heath Tarbert has been adamant about his stance that Ethereum (ether) is a commodity, and not a security under the laws regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SEC’s Contentious Position

The SEC Chairman Jay Powell, however, is of the opinion that Ethereum’s unique code nature allows it to fit into the definition of a security according to the Howey Test. This debate has been interpreted with much humor, especially because Robert Howell – the namesake of the test himself – created it to solve a much simpler situation involving Orange Groves.

CFTC’s Clapback

On the day of Homecoming at Princeton University between SEC and CFTC, Tarbert decided to publicly counter Powell’s claims by hilariously insisting that Ethereum is a commodity. He said, “Unlike oranges, Ethereum is a thing upon which decentralization is programmed.” He pushed back on the claims that it is a security under the federal securities laws and said, “Ether is a commodity.”

CFTC’s Justification

Tarbert further highlighted the need for clarity and provided a few common scenarios to discuss ether’s classification. He stated:

  • Simply buying ether/cryptos for a longer-term investment
  • Creating a permissioned tourney contract on a decentralized platform
  • Using ether tokens as a currency to buy an asset

All of these scenarios, according to the CFTC Chairman, emphasize that ether is a commodity and more of the theoretical products of the digital asset are lined up.


It’s clear that the CFTC Chairman is not backing down from the SEC Chairman’s views. He is standing firmly by Ether being a commodity and one can only imagine the look on Chairman Powell’s face when he heard this news. No matter what, it looks like the Ether debate is ripe for some laughter!