LabCFTC, the fintech-focused office of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has published a new intro to digital assets. 

Released on Dec. 17, the "Digital Assets Primer" includes basic definitions and overviews of digital asset markets, as well as a handy breakdown of the role of the CFTC and other regulators in establishing rules for these markets. 

The latest primer joins three others released over the course of LabCFTC's lifespan. The first, from October 2017, focuses on virtual currencies, but was in much more 101-level terms. While today's primer on digital assets is also designed as a basic overview rather than new formal guidance, it has many more examples of CFTC interactions with crypto than the 2017 rendition could point to. 

On the difference Melissa Netram, LabCFTC's director, told Cointelegraph that: 

"In comparison to the virtual currencies primer, the Digital Assets Primer broadens the discussion to explain what digital assets are, and where they fit in the marketplace. This primer identifies the benefits and risks associated with digital assets, engagement with those in digital asset markets, and the need for regulatory coordination on a global scale."

As the focal point for contact between the CFTC and emerging technologies, LabCFTC is part of a number of public-facing initiatives. In November, it announced "Nakamoto Terminal" as the winner of its first science contest, which aimed for new tools to identify unregistered foreign offerings in the U.S. using artificial intelligence. 

It was only in 2019 that LabCFTC rose to the status of independent office, alongside which the firm released its last primer, on artificial intelligence in financial markets. It may be the heightened attention around Bitcoin's skyrocketing price that motivated the regulator to release its latest educational material, though a representative for LabCFTC told Cointelegraph that this is "pure coincidence."