Durbin Questions CFTC Chairman At Agriculture Committee Hearing on Crypto Amid FTX Collapse

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), today, in a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing, questioned the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Rostin Behnam about the recent collapse of FTX. On November 11, FTX—one of the world's largest crypto trading platforms—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned.  

“How long will it take to unpack the FTX mess to understand what happened and where it stands,” Durbin asked.

Mr. Behnam responded that a variety of factors led to the implosion of FTX and, “it will take months before we truly understand the extent and scope of the failure.”

Durbin emphasized that crypto poses significant challenges and is an industry that up until recently was “mushrooming in size.”  He asked Mr. Behnam about the CFTC’s ability to effectively regulate crypto.

Durbin continued, “What assurance do we have that you are going to have adequate resources, the staff, the technology, [and] the people… to execute any kind of meaningful regulation of an industry which is almost impossible to describe, let alone regulate?”

Durbin noted the active lobbying by the crypto industry and emphasized that any legislation Congress considers must be credible. Durbin said, “I happen to believe… there’s a hell of a lot more credibility when the United States says this is properly regulated and the world can respect it.  And we ought to take the time to make sure we not only salve our consciences, but make sure that we provide the resources to get that kind of regulation.”

Durbin continues to raise concerns about cryptocurrency, and yesterday, he spoke on the Senate floor highlighting the dangers it poses to personal finances and retirement. Durbin, along with U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tina Smith (D-MN), urged Fidelity Investments to reconsider their decision to allow 401(k) plan sponsors to offer plan participants exposure to Bitcoin, a highly volatile and risky digital asset.  Fidelity is one of the largest 401(k) providers with more than 32 million Americans and 22,000 employers who trust Fidelity Investments with their workplace retirement accounts and employer-sponsored plans.  Last week’s letter followed a letter the Senators sent to Fidelity on July 26.  

Video of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here for TV Stations.