Money and Markets

The US could have an executive order on cryptocurrencies as early as February

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US President, Joe Biden.
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • The administration of US President Joe Biden will release an executive order for cryptocurrencies in February, Bloomberg reported.
  • US federal agencies are to be tasked with assessing the risks and opportunities that digital assets pose.
  • Senior administration officials will present the plan to Biden in the coming weeks, the report said.
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The White House is putting together an executive order for cryptocurrencies that could be released as early as February, Bloomberg reported Friday.

As part of the plan, Joe Biden's administration will task multiple US federal agencies with evaluating risks and opportunities that digital assets pose, Bloomberg said, citing unnamed sources. Their reports are due in the second half of this year.

Senior administration officials have already had multiple talks on the plan, which will be submitted to Biden in the coming weeks, according to the report.

Under current American laws, there is no comprehensive legal framework for digital assets, or the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has long called for more oversight of the crypto market.

On top of blockchain and digital assets already being difficult to understand well enough to be taken seriously, skeptics have often pointed to the lack of clarity in crypto-related policy as a reason to steer clear. Top executives in the industry like Sam Bankman-Fried have called for more regulation, saying it will clear the barriers to entry for many retail and institutional investors.

The Biden-led directive would place the White House at the centre of efforts to set policies and regulate the market in the US, Bloomberg said. This development follows a sell-off in crypto markets over the impact of tightening financial conditions. Bitcoin broke below $36,000 and ether fell below $2,500, wiping out $350 billion in value from the total crypto market over the weekend.

Federal agencies including the Financial Stability Oversight Council are tasked with publishing reports on the systemic impacts and illicit uses of cryptocurrencies. A similar report from the Federal Reserve recently detailed the pros and cons of a central bank digital currency, or fully digitising the US dollar.

The order requires agencies ranging from the US State Department to the country's Commerce Department to be entrusted with roles aimed at ensuring the US is a competitive player in the evolving field of digital assets, the report said.

Further modifications could be made to the directive, as it hasn't been finalised yet.

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