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A rumoured executive order on cryptocurrency from the Biden White House is just one part of the US government’s larger effort to get its hands around the sector.
The White House is in the course of preparing an executive order directed at cryptocurrency, according to several unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. The report described the potential order as part of the Biden Administration’s attempt to set up a government-wide approach to regulating the sector.
The Bloomberg report suggested the focus of any order would be on directing federal agencies to conduct research and produce recommendations:
“The proposed directive would charge federal agencies to study and offer recommendations on relevant areas of crypto—touching on financial regulation, economic innovation and national security, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing plans that are still under consideration … The framework would touch a range of bureaucracies, from the Treasury Department and financial regulators to the Commerce Department, the National Science Foundation and national security agencies.”
The report also stated that, while a draught of the order has been circulated among various departments, it is unclear whether the White House will proceed with it, and that the administration may instead pursue more informal measures to achieve the same goal.
The rumour of the executive order comes at a time when many branches of the United States government are paying unprecedented attention to the cryptocurrency sector. This includes the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, and the Department of Justice, all of which have made statements or announced impending reports on cryptocurrency.
Biden does not have the authority to enact new crypto laws; that is the prerogative of Congress. However, he can use executive orders to wield significant power over various agencies, directing them to prioritise certain activities over others and providing law enforcement guidance.
The larger strategy is likely to become clear in the coming weeks as government officials, including the White House, reveal more of their cards regarding the United States’ crypto priorities. While the crypto industry has long pleaded for clearer rules about what is legal under US law, the rules—when and if they come—could be detrimental to the industry given the negative sentiments many top officials have expressed about cryptocurrency.