The 7 sections for regulating cryptocurrencies in the US

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Following US President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Ensuring the Responsible Development of Digital Assets, federal agencies have come up with a joint fact sheet on seven key guidelines for regulating cryptocurrencies in the United States.

The fact sheet summarizes the result of nine separate reports submitted to the President with the goal of articulating a clear framework for responsible development of digital assets and paving the way for further action at home and abroad.

The fact sheet was published on the official White House website on 16 September and consists of 7 sections:

  • (1) Protecting consumers, investors and businesses
  • (2) Promoting access to safe, affordable financial services
  • (3) Promoting financial stability
  • (4) Promoting responsible innovation
  • (5) Strengthening our global economic leadership and competitiveness
  • (6) Combating illicit finance
  • (7) Exploring a digital currency from the Central Bank of the United States (CBDC)

Investigations and enforcement actions

Some of the sections contain no new information, emphasizing the principles and policies to which the current U.S. administration adheres. For example, to protect consumers and investors, the reports urge regulators – the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission – to aggressively pursue investigations and enforcement actions against illegal practices in the digital asset space. At the same time, they make no specific mention of the separation of duties of regulators, which remains one of the country’s main regulatory problems.

Access to financial services

To promote access to financial services, the federal agencies recommend creating a federal framework for non-bank payment providers and encouraging the adoption of direct payment systems such as FedNow, the launch of which is planned by the Federal Reserve in 2023.

Responsible innovation

As part of advancing responsible innovation efforts, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which recently published a critical report on the climate impacts of cryptocurrency mining, will develop a Digital Asset Research and Development Program to help mitigate negative climate impacts.

With the same goal, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies will consider further monitoring of the environmental impacts that digital assets may be causing.

Take positions to international organizations

While the fact sheet claims that US agencies will “leverage US positions in international organizations to pass US values” related to digital assets, it does not specify exactly how those values differ from the rapidly emerging European regulatory approach.

Security strategy

The security strategy calls for amendments to bank secrecy laws, anti-money transfer laws against unauthorized money transfers that would explicitly apply to digital asset service providers, including exchanges and platforms of non-exchangeable digital assets (NFTs).

Central Bank Digital Currencies

The last, but perhaps the most important section of the newsletter is dedicated to the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) of the US.

It reveals that the administration has already developed policy objectives for a CBDC system in the US, but further research is needed on the potential technological basis for this system.

However, the intent appears quite serious as Treasury will lead an interagency working group involving the Federal Reserve, the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, and OSTP.

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