Watershed moment as President Biden signs executive order on cryptocurrency and digital assets

What 

Proponents of cryptocurrencies are calling President Joe Biden’s signing of the executive order on cryptocurrencies a pivotal moment for the industry

Why 

In broad terms, the executive order seeks to embrace the US’s role in the global cryptocurrency space, labelling it “an opportunity to reinforce American leadership in the global financial system and at the technological frontier”

What next 

The order lays out a national policy for digital assets across six key priorities, including consumer and investor protection, financial stability, illicit finance, US leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness, financial inclusion, and responsible innovation. The various federal agencies involved have six months to do their research and present their findings, after which more policy proposals may follow 

The story 

The cryptocurrency sector hailed President Joe Biden’s executive order as a step in the right direction for cryptocurrency regulation in the US. While grey areas remain, the executive order signals a bullish approach to cryptocurrency and digital assets by the US, which is a key player in the global crypto economy. 

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle, likened it to the moment in the 90s when the US government realised the commercial power of the internet, calling it a “watershed moment for crypto and Web3.0.”

“The executive order will help position the US to keep playing a leading role in the innovation and governance of the digital assets ecosystem at home and abroad, in a way that protects consumers, is consistent with our democratic values and advances U.S. global competitiveness,” the NEC Director Brian Deese and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan commented in a statement. 

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen responded to the executive order by saying that the approach will support innovation that could result in substantial benefits for all involved. “Treasury will work to promote a fairer, more inclusive, and more efficient financial system, while building on our ongoing work to counter illicit finance, and prevent risks to financial stability and national security,” Yellen said.

A strong theme in the executive order was the need for the development of a US central bank digital currency (CBDC). 

Kristin Smith, the executive director of the Blockchain Association, explained to CNBC that the agencies involved have six months to examine the industry, after which policy proposals may follow.

To learn more about digital assets check out our learning resource.

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