- The executive order will put focus on possible legal and economic impacts of digital assets
- The White House’s approach has come under keen scrutiny in recent days, with concerns that Russia could use crypto to evade economic sanctions
US President Joe Biden will reportedly sign an executive order on crypto this week, potentially leading towards a framework for the regulation of digital assets.
Talks of market-wide crypto regulation have been around since last October, as the government resolved to fight the then surging threat of cybercrime and ransomware. Now, according to a report published yesterday, Bloomberg says the order could be signed as soon as tomorrow.
Citing an individual familiar with the matter who preferred to remain unidentified, the news outlet explained that the executive order would direct the Department of Justice alongside other government agencies to study the possible legal, economic, and national security impacts of digital assets.
The order will also define a 180-day deadline for the release of reports on the role of crypto in the “future of money,” according to Reuters.
“We could see a significant shift in policy in 180 days. This is a likely step toward creation of a central bank digital currency,” the individual noted.
Bloomberg said that the White House directive will set a requirement that federal government agencies submit progress reports regarding action on digital tokens. Eventually, the White House expects to gradually define specific responsibilities for the agencies, including the Commerce Department and State Department.
Which way regulation?
In recent days, speculation has been rife on which governmental body will likely get the regulatory power over crypto.
Though it remains unclear, Biden’s directive will likely appoint a new regulatory helm for the crypto market. Some suggestions indicate that the President may well select a new individual to practise overall oversight over agencies, including the SEC, CTFC, the OCC and FinCEN.
However, some quarters, including SEC Commissioner Hester Pierce, believe that introducing a new regulatory presence to an already “fragmented regulatory system” should not have precedence.
Intense scrutiny on crypto over sanctions
Pressure has been mounting on the Biden administration to provide regulatory clarity in the booming crypto sector. Attention to the White House’s handling of cryptocurrencies has become even more intense in recent weeks as concerns rise on the potential use of crypto by sanctioned Russian organisations and individuals to skirt sanctions.
Last week, senators including Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to express concern that the crypto industry may not be “fulfilling its responsibility” to achieve full compliance with the economic sanctions.