Litecoin Surges by Nearly 20% After US Regulator Refers to LTC as a Commodity in KuCoin Complaint

Litecoin (LTC) surged by nearly 20% over the past three days after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) referred to the asset as a commodity in a legal complaint.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the CFTC unsealed an indictment against the crypto exchange KuCoin and two of its founders, Chun Gan and Ke Tang.

The DOJ alleges the exchange operated an unlicensed money-transmitting business, failed to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering (AML) program and received over $5 billion worth of suspicious and criminal proceeds.

The CFTC also charged KuCoin with illegally dealing in off-exchange commodity futures transactions, among other alleged violations.

In its complaint, the regulator asserts that certain digital assets are commodities.

“Billing itself as the ‘People’s Exchange,’ KuCoin is a centralized digital asset exchange headquartered in the Republic of Seychelles, the Cayman Islands, and Singapore, with 27 million customers across 200 countries, including the United States, and a cumulative trading volume of $3.6 trillion in 2022.

During the Relevant Period, KuCoin solicited and accepted orders, accepted property to margin, and operated a facility for the trading of futures, swaps, and leveraged, margined, or financed retail transactions involving digital assets that are commodities including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).”

The CFTC also referred to those same three crypto assets as commodities in a complaint against Binance last year.

This assertion directly cuts against comments made by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler, who in 2023 claimed that every coin besides Bitcoin is a security. Earlier this year, Gensler declined to answer when asked whether ETH counted as a security or a commodity.

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LTC is trading at $105.75 at time of writing, up about 20% from $88.40 on Tuesday.

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