White House Considers Executive Order To Investigate Cryptocurrencies

The Biden administration is considering appointing a White House cryptocurrency czar in a new executive order. The official would coordinate with several other regulatory agencies to investigate the emerging asset class. The agencies would help provide regulatory recommendations and further information about the space.

White House Prioritizes Crypto Oversight

As Bloomberg reported, the appointment would be part of a government-wide effort to organize crypto regulation. Accordingly, the plan is to give organizations that pay little attention to crypto a responsibility.

According to two anonymous individuals familiar with the matter, the bill would clarify the regulatory responsibilities for each relevant agency. Also, each would have the task to examine specific topics in the crypto space and report the information they gather.

This has been a critical point of confusion among authorities navigating the space. For example, SEC chair Gary Gensler has acknowledged that some cryptos have “elements of securities and commodities.” Trouble classifying cryptocurrencies has left regulatory bodies with confusion and overlapping responsibilities around regulation.

Responsible agencies could include The Treasury Department, Commerce Department, National Security Council, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, SEC, and more. The crypto czar’s job would be to coordinate all of their research responsibilities.

Wendy Benjaminson– a Bloomberg editor with knowledge of the bill– said why the administration is giving crypto such focus:

I think it’s recognition by the administration that this isn’t some boutique, high-tech nerdy thing out there that some people do. That it is increasingly being taken seriously in financial markets and being used in financial markets… I don’t think the White House wants cryptocurrencies to get so far into normal life that they’ve missed the boat on regulating it.

Biden has not made a decision on whether to pass the executive order yet. Regardless, an administration official has confirmed that they will publicly establish their overall strategy on cryptocurrencies.

Who Is Responsible For What?

The executive order may be necessary to make policymakers take concrete actions and regulate the crypto industry. Officials currently hold differing opinions on who is responsible for what areas.

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Janet Yellen and Gary Gensler believe the policy framework is enough for FSOC and the SEC to regulate the space. However, Senator Pat Toomey disagrees, saying congress ought to create “new clarifying” legislation to cover cryptocurrencies. Previously, Toomey sent a letter to Gensler asking for direct clarity on industry rules. Gensler has been slow to provide it.

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