In brief

  • President Biden on Wednesday signed the Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.
  • Many within the crypto industry are optimistic it will lead to clearer regulations and a fair approach toward assets.
  • Others argue the order lacks substance or is too focused on central bank digital currencies.

For years, the crypto industry—tired of what it sees as regulation by enforcement action—has been pleading for the U.S. federal government to coordinate its efforts on crypto policy.

President Biden today made a step toward doing that, signing the Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets. The stated purposes of the order are to find ways to mitigate risks to both individual consumers and the global financial system, while also preventing crypto’s “misuse” for criminal activities, all while cementing the United States’ role as a leader in technological innovation so Americans who are “underserved by the traditional banking system” can gain more financial access.

The bill gives an alphabet soup of agencies three to seven months to report back to the president on a variety of issues. Intelligence, State Department and Treasury officials have 90 days, for instance, to return a strategy for limiting cryptocurrency’s use in illicit and terrorist financing. The SEC, FTC, and CFTC and other government banking bodies will have 180 days to produce a report recommending consumer protection issues.

In short, it’s setting the table for the type of comprehensive regulations industry actors have both been asking for and—if…

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