Tuesday Talk: Executive Order on Crypto Assets Expected This Week

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, is expected to sign an executive order with a comprehensive guideline on the regulation of various types of crypto assets, according to Bloomberg.

This executive order will instruct government agencies, such as Treasury, the Justice Department, and others, to examine the economic and legal implications of creating a central bank digital currency (CDBC) backed by the US Dollars, according to Reuters.

Last month, reports from Bloomberg revealed that this exact executive order related to crypto was slowed down due to a conflict between the White House and the Treasury. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen thought such executive order would be unnecessary, according to sources from the reports. However, these conflicts seemed to have been at least temporarily resolved, as Biden is expected to announce this crypto executive order this week.

The executive order comes at a time where sanctions on Russia, including ones on crypto assets, are being implemented or discussed. The questions surrounding crypto is mostly focused on the matter of whether digital currencies help malicious actors in Russia circumvent the economic sanctions currently in place.

According to chief legal officer of Coinbase, Paul Grewal, crypto offers slim to no advantage to those seeking to evade sanctions, given that they are public, traceable, and permanent, giving authorities clear information to identify transactions that occurred for illicit purposes.

The Russian central bank alone holds over $630 billion in largely immobilized reserve assets. That’s larger than the total market capitalization of all but one digital asset, and 5–10x the total daily traded volume of all digital assets. As a result, trying to obscure large transactions using open and transparent crypto technology would be far more difficult than other established methods (e.g., using fiat, art, gold, or other assets). This doesn’t mean that bad actors can’t try, but circumventing restrictions on this scale would require massive purchases that would be prohibitively expensive and detectable, as this buying activity would likely lead to price spikes.”

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