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US regulator accepts bitcoin as a commodity

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Virtual currencies like bitcoin just came one step closer to legitimacy in the US. As part of its first action against an unregistered bitcoin options trading outfit, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has determined that digital currencies are commodities subject to its regulations. The move both puts cryptocurrency on the same level as conventional commodity derivatives (like futures contracts or swaps) and rejects the notion that they're 'just' securities, like stocks. This isn't a shocking move when the CFTC had already hinted that it would rule this way, but it could mean a lot if it both gets bitcoin exchanges off the ground and reduces the potential for abuse.

[Image credit: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images]

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