Executive Order on Digital Assets: “Shot in the Arm for Crypto”

Earlier today, the White House posted an anticipated Executive Order on Digital Assets. Currently, the interpretation from industry insiders is cautiously optimistic that the Administration is aiming to balance responsible innovation with the obvious benefits of crypto. The Order was not excessively prescriptive but leaves much open for interpretation by the agencies that must follow the White House’s request.

CI has received several comments following the EO sharing opinion on the language.

Nathan McCauley, CEO and co-founder of Anchorage Digital Bank, the first federally-chartered digital asset bank in the United States, shared the following:

“Today’s executive order is a shot in the arm for crypto. The administration has made it clear that the United States has the opportunity to lead the world in digital asset development, while also establishing new protections for individual consumers and society as a whole. To strike this balance of “responsible innovation”, the crypto community needs to recognize that–for the benefit of our industry–regulators have a role to play in the crypto ecosystem. Today’s executive order makes it clear: this isn’t them-against-us. By working together, we can help create well-informed policies that create new jobs, cement America’s global leadership, and pave the way for a more inclusive financial future.”

CI also received a comment from John Berlau, a Fintech advocate and financial expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He expressed some concern about the language.

“To ensure both the economic well-being of American consumers, investors and entrepreneurs, any executive order or action must instruct agencies to follow, not exceed, the law in regulating cryptocurrency. It must also recognize the numerous ways cryptocurrency and byproducts like stablecoins and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have provided vital assistance to Ukrainians and others facing oppression and financial instability. The order also must not follow the mistaken path of having the Financial Stability Oversight Council – the consortium of regulatory agencies created by Dodd-Frank – declare some cryptocurrencies as ‘too big to fail’. Such a proclamation would create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which individuals would disregard risk in cryptocurrency transactions because a bailout would be expected. Central bank digital currency should also be rejected, as it does not achieve its advertised benefits of financial inclusion but does raise massive risks to privacy and disruption of bank deposit-based lending.”

Berlau added that the Order “must respect the free speech and privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that regulatory agencies do not have sweeping powers to freeze or seize crypto accounts and digital wallets without due process of law.”

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