On Monday the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued the Laino Group for advising US investors to trade in futures on commodities such as Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin. The company had not previously registered with the Commission.
According to the CFTC complaint, the St Vincent registered Laino Group, operating as PaxForex, used a network of US subsidiaries to attract US retail investors. The Laino Group thus violated the Commodity Trading Act.
The CFTC did not specify the activities in which the Laino Group was involved. The Commissions request for discharge indicates that it does not itself know how much the trading platform has taken in without registration. The CFTCs complaint not only calls for the full repayment of all the money, but also for it to be paid back:
An order that the defendant and any successor should account to the court for all his assets and liabilities. He must also list all monies received from and paid to clients.
The definition of the jurisdiction limit is a special feature here. In recent years, the CFTC has repeatedly referred to Bitcoin as a commodity. Ether and Litecoin are on the same list as Bitcoin and traditional commodities such as gold and silver. This suggests that the Commission also treats these others as commodities, as CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert stated last year.
The question of which crypto-currencies should fall under the jurisdiction of the CFTC was addressed in two bills presented to the House of Representatives last week.