Both President Barack Obama and the previous administration issued executive orders related to digital assets.
The White House will reportedly be issuing an executive order as early as next week directing government agencies to study different aspects of the digital asset space with the goal of creating a comprehensive regulatory framework.
In a Thursday report from Yahoo! Finance, Jennifer Schonberger said an official familiar with the matter within the Biden administration revealed the executive order could arrive as soon as next week. The directive from President Biden would reportedly order the Office of the Attorney General, the State Department, and the Treasury Department to study the potential rollout of a U.S.-issued central bank digital currency.
In addition, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy — the newly appointed Alondra Nelson — would provide an evaluation on the infrastructure needed for the U.S. to support a digital dollar. The agency will reportedly plan to issue a report to the U.S. President on distributed ledger technology within 180 days, with an update expected on its environmental impact in 545 days.
Under the executive order, the Financial Stability Oversight Council would study financial stability issues resulting from the introduction of cryptocurrencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commision, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will consider measures to protect the markets and report to the president on methods to mitigate risks with respect to crypto.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and Office of the Attorney General will study the impact of digital assets on market competition. The director and chair of the first two aforementioned agencies, respectively, will review privacy concerns for the space.
Altogether, the executive order — the 81st President Biden has signed since taking office in January 2021 — would reportedly be used to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets in the United States. The previous administration issued 220 executive orders over four years, while President Barack Obama released 276 orders during his two terms.
Cryptocurrencies have infrequently been mentioned in executive orders during the history of the United States. The technology has only existed through the last three administrations.
In March 2018, Donald Trump issued an order banning U.S. residents from engaging in transactions of “any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token” released by Venezuela’s government, referring to the country’s Petro token. The former president also mentioned “digital currency fraud” in a July 2018 order establishing a task force tackling market integrity and consumer fraud.
Another order issued by President Obama in 2015 hinted that authorities would be able to confiscate digital assets connected to “significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.” The executive action essentially allowed officials to seize “funds or other assets” without “prior notice of a listing or determination” under the National Emergencies Act. In March 2021, President Biden extended the order through April 2022. Since that time, the Justice Department and other government agencies have formed a task force to track and seize digital assets connected to illicit transactions.