30. November 2023

CFTC Chairman: Anonymity Can’t Shield DeFi from Regulation

• CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam has clarified that DeFi applications must follow all financial regulations.
• He argued that the real question is what these protocols do and who ultimately runs them.
• The developers and investors behind DeFi applications are often anonymous individuals, which raises questions about enforcement of regulations.

CFTC Clarifies Stance on DeFi Regulation

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman, Rostin Behnam, has stated that decentralized finance (DeFi) applications must comply with all applicable financial regulations despite their autonomous and self-executing nature. He suggested that the agency will probe into who is behind DeFi apps in order to ensure full compliance with regulatory laws.

Anonymity Won’t Protect from Regulators

Proponents of DeFi have long argued that traditional regulation does not apply due to its lack of intermediaries. However, CFTC Chair Behnam has clarified that this anonymity won’t protect developers from regulators. He explained: “It’s really about what are U.S. customers being offered and exposed to…And who is either the individual or group of individuals who set up that entity, that code, to offer those products?”

Questions About Enforcement

The CFTC’s stance raises questions about how it will enforce regulations on autonomous and non-compliant DeFI platforms as US government agencies don’t agree on which agency has jurisdiction over crypto assets. Specifically, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims all crypto assets except Bitcoin are securities under their jurisdiction.

What Does This Mean for Users?

Users should be aware that while anonymity may offer some protection against certain forms of regulation, when dealing with US customers or companies they could still be subject to regulatory oversight by various government agencies such as the SEC or CFTC depending on circumstances. As such, users should always exercise caution when using any type of financial service including DeFi platforms in order to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations at all times.


CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam’s remarks have clarified the agency’s stance on regulating decentralized finance applications — namely that they must comply with existing financial regulations despite their autonomy and lack of intermediaries. This means users should take extra precaution when engaging in activities involving cryptoassets in order to avoid any potential legal repercussions stemming from non-compliance with said regulations