Biden Executive Order Takes Major Steps Toward Regulating Cryptocurrencies

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The president will sign an executive order regulating the growing industry, announcing the exploration of a possible government-backed currency and addressing national security and equity concerns.

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday imposing fresh regulations on cryptocurrency operations, targeting national security and financial equity, among other issues associated with crypto investing and mining. 

Confirmed during a National Security Council press call, the forthcoming executive order will establish a “whole-of-government” approach to regulating the growing digital asset and currency market. 

“Ensuring responsible innovation and evolution as a digital asset ecosystem is essential to our national security, financial stability, economic competitiveness and continued global leadership,” a senior administration official stated on the call. 

Central to the discussion surrounding the executive order was the potential for Russia to utilize cryptocurrencies to skirt the onslaught of sanction imposed by public and private entities following its military invasion of Ukraine. 

Officials within the Biden administration do not see cryptocurrency as a viable alternative to government-pinned fiats. Rather, the focus of the executive order is to set national policies to ensure innovation in the cryptocurrency sector evolves equitably.

“We're committed to working with allies and the broader digital asset community to shape the future of digital asset systems in a manner that's inclusive, consistent with democratic values that safeguard the integrity of the global financial system,” a senior official said. 

Areas targeted by the executive order specifically include protecting U.S. consumers, businesses and the larger financial system from fraud and risk, ensuring U.S. leadership in the tech field, promoting equitable access to affordable financial services, supporting innovation and exploring a digital currency regulated by the U.S. Central Bank.

The executive order also calls on the Treasury secretary to develop policies to support digital asset management, as well as conduct a report on the future of money and payment systems to capture how cryptocurrencies stand to impact economic growth and national security. 

Notably, Biden’s order also calls for a greater examination of how cryptocurrency mining––a key part in accessing a currency token––will impact the environment and climate. 

The administration noted that it has been working with a core group of academics and other digital currency experts in developing the executive order’s provisions. 

“The benefits of digital assets are fundamentally dependent on their design,” an administration official noted. “This executive order seeks to promote digital asset innovation, while balancing the benefits and associated risk.”