Mar 8, 2022
Yellen Applauds White House’s ‘Historic’ Crypto Executive Order
(Bloomberg) -- A Biden administration cryptocurrency executive order strikes the right balance between encouraging responsible innovation and addressing potential risks to consumers and the broader financial system, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement posted to The Treasury Department’s website Tuesday night.
The statement, which was dated March 9, has since been removed. A Treasury spokesperson declined to comment further.
Bloomberg previously reported that the administration was planning to unveil a directive this week, following the industry’s calls for the White House to take a lead role in setting policy for digital assets. The order is the first attempt at coordinating the government’s strategy.
The order will address the substantial benefits that the innovation could bring, while also addressing risks related to illicit finance, protecting consumers and investors, and preventing threats to the financial system and broader economy, Yellen said in her statement.
The Treasury will partner with other agencies to compile a report on the future of money and payment systems, according to the statement. The department will also convene the Financial Stability Oversight Council to examine potential risks to financial stability and assess whether necessary safeguards are in place. It will also work with international partners “to promote robust standards and a level playing field.”
Congressional committees have in recent months stepped up hearings on cryptocurrency, which has ballooned into a nearly $2 trillion market, to examine some of the areas that might have to be addressed through legislation. Those topics include stablecoins, private tokens typically pegged to the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies.
Yellen said the department’s efforts under the executive order would complement work that’s already been done, including the report the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets put out last year on stablecoins.
While the executive order puts the White House at the center of crypto policy, it’s unclear how much progress can be made given the looming November midterm elections and the possibility that Democrats might lose control of Congress. Although Republicans have acknowledged the need for regulation, they’ve often advocated a less-strict approach than their Democratic counterparts.
“As we take on this important work, we’ll be guided by consumer and investor protection groups, market participants, and other leading experts,” Yellen said. “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.”
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