SEC “Ruling” on Ethereum – A Myth Started by the Wall Street Journal


In the past week, the cryptocurrency community has been on tenterhooks concerning a decision relating to the Ethereum cryptocurrency. A meeting was to take place between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regarding whether the cryptocurrency was a security or a commodity. This type of decision is incredibly important as it determines how cryptocurrencies are viewed and taxed by regulatory authorities, having implications for how such cryptocurrencies are traded and purchased.

So far, the CFTC has the jurisdiction as per most Federal court rulings. However, the SEC still seems to be making a case for its authority, though many experts view this claim with skepticism. It has always been viewed as a commodity by the CFTC. Backpedalling at this stage would make the regulatory authorities seem incompetent, at best.

On May 1st, 2018, the Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “World’s Second most valuable cryptocurrency under regulatory scrutiny.” The SEC was to meet with the CFTC on May 7th and come to a regulatory decision regarding Ethereum. The news took off, and many eagerly debated the meeting and its implications. After all, the pivotal decision in the regulation of any cryptocurrency is whether or not it will be deemed a security. The news was picked up by CNBC, Coin Telegraph, The Next Web, and CCN. All of them cited the article by the Wall Street Journal written by Paul Vigna and Dave Michaels with a contribution from Gabriel T. Rubin.

As it turns out, there was no decision to be made – at least not according to the SEC or the CFTC, who have not made any indication or ruling regarding the matter. There never was any type of formal announcement, not even a reference to any type of meeting that took place. There were no official statements regarding a meeting on May 7th. The WSJ article originally made references to “sources familiar to the matter” but did not give any concrete indication. According to the page:

“A working group of regulators including senior SEC and CFTC officials are scheduled to discuss the matter on May 7.”

It seems that news outlets are going to have to be extra vigilant with their sources. However, it is certainly a black mark on the Wall Street Journal. If the meeting is indeed a tightly kept secret, then it should not have been posted. The regulatory authorities were never going to acknowledge it. It seems that to get any accurate cryptocurrency related news, alternative news outlets are a better form of information.


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Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.

Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.