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Biden Signs Executive Order on U.S. Crypto Strategy

The order outlines the first-ever, whole-of-government approach to regulating the digital assets industry.

Biden Signs Executive Order on U.S. Crypto Strategy
Photo: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order directing relevant government agencies to do more research on crypto.
  • The goal of the order is to establish a "whole-of-government approach" to supervising and regulating the crypto industry.
  • The order also directs the government to explore the nation's needs and capabilities for launching a sovereign central bank digital currency.

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U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order on “Ensuring Responsible Innovation in Digital Assets.”

Biden Signs Executive Order on Crypto

President Biden has finally signed the White House’s highly anticipated Executive Order on handling crypto assets.

Per a fact sheet released by the White House today, the 46th president has signed an order outlining the “first-ever, whole government approach” to overseeing the crypto industry.

Despite previous fears of a potential clampdown on the asset class, the order appears to be somewhat amicable and doesn’t spell any imminent trouble for the industry. Per the fact sheet, Biden has directed the Treasury, Financial Stability Oversight Council, Department of Commerce, Federal Reserve, and all other relevant government agencies to do more work and produce reports and frameworks on relevant aspects of cryptocurrencies. The goal of the order is to establish a “whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets.”

The government seems primarily concerned with supporting innovation and preserving the country’s technological leadership in the digital assets space while mitigating the risks for consumers, businesses, financial stability, and the climate. The fact sheet reads:

“The Order lays out a national policy for digital assets across six key priorities: consumer and investor protection, financial stability, illicit finance, U.S. leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness, financial inclusion, and responsible innovation.”

The order also directs the U.S. Government to “assess the technological infrastructure and capacity needs for a potential U.S. CBDC.” It highlights the importance and urgent need for research and development of a potential national CBDC “should the issuance be deemed in the national interest.”

Following the fact sheet’s release, the Treasury Department published a press release outlining Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen‘s remarks on the order. In her statement, she said that the Treasury would work to produce a report on the future of money and payment systems and cooperate with other relevant agencies to assess the potential risks of digital assets. “This approach will support responsible innovation that could result in substantial benefits for the nation, consumers, and businesses,” she said. SEC Chair Gary Gensler also commented on the order. In a Wednesday tweet, he said that he looked forward to working with the government “to achieve important public policy goals,” making reference to investor protection, preventing illicit activity, and ensuring financial stability. 

Commenting on the specific outcomes that could potentially result from the order on Twitter yesterday, Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis said, “Studies. Lots and lots of agency studies,” possibly suggesting that she thinks the order will not result in anything more concrete than a ton of agency research papers.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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