Biden Takes Step Toward Regulating Cryptocurrencies

Katie Rogers and Ephrat Livni

This article by Katie Rogers and Ephrat Livni appeared in The New York Times on March 9, 2022.

President Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that will direct the federal government to come up with a plan to regulate cryptocurrencies, recognizing their popularity and potential to destabilize traditional money and markets.

The order, under development for months, will coordinate efforts among financial regulators to better understand the risks and opportunities presented by digital assets, particularly in the areas of consumer protection, national security and illicit finance.

The move, according to a fact sheet on the order released by the Biden administration, is a response to the “explosive growth” in digital assets, the growing number of countries exploring central bank digital currencies and a desire to maintain American technological leadership. It directs financial regulators to continue with work that began in earnest last year, including studying and reporting on the creation of a digital dollar.

The eventual results could help shape the contours of a rapidly innovating industry that has swiftly moved into the mainstream, but that critics say enables illicit activity and creates outsize financial risks, both for consumers and the economy.

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