Is Bitcoin a "futures contract?" Maybe. A futures contract is not defined in the CEA specifically, but it has been defined in the courts as a commitment to deliver or receive an asset - including U.S. dollars - in the future at a pre-agreed price.
Since you can't eat [gold] when hungry, or wear it when cold, or cuddle under it in the rain, what "protection" does it provide? Because it does not pay interest or dividends, why should one prefer it over investments that do?
The "sequester" has taken effect. According to multiple news reports, an early casualty will be the shipbuilding industry, especially on the military side. But it will also make more difficult the full implementation of the derivatives piece of the Dodd-Frank Act.
On March 15, the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia nullified FERC's order fining Brian Hunter $30 million dollars for manipulating the price of natural gas futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 2006.