Biden's Executive Order on Crypto Policy Is Expected Next Week

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  • Yahoo! Finance reports the White House crypto policy executive order could come next week.
  • Reports out of Washington say Biden's edict will be light on specific regulations, policy guidelines, or legal requirements, instead instructing executive branch agencies to study the challenges and opportunities in 2022.

The latest round of crypto policy kick-the-can is likely next week from the White House, with more definitive inaction expected.

Yahoo! Finance reports that an anticipated cryptocurrency executive order from the White House could be made public next week. Biden's edict has been expected in February since Bloomberg broke the news (in January) of a White House crypto announcement in the coming weeks. But this news demands a bit of context, since the issue of crypto regulation -- and the lack thereof -- has been around for years.

The White House and Congress explore crypto, but take no action

Most recently, the Presidential Working Group spent three months researching cryptocurrency regulation with no specific outcomes -- its only recommendation in its November 2021 report was to punt the issue over to Congress. There were hearings in the House of Representatives and the Senate during December 2021 -- but no definitive next steps were outlined.

Thus far, Congress, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commision, and the Presidential Working Group have been haphazard in their policy approach -- or lack thereof -- regarding cryptocurrencies.

It's reported that the president’s executive order will require virtually all federal agencies to assess the challenges, opportunities, and threats that the crypto asset class presents. It's also expected that the agencies will have to present an outline or framework report in the second half of this year, explaining how they can most effectively address crypto within their respective areas of oversight and responsibility. So expect more study, no action.

It's a safe bet to assume that the political motivation of this latest crypto exercise is to position President Biden as a decisive leader who gets things done -- despite a lack of congressional action on other administration agenda items.

Biden has to address crypto, since it's unlikely Congress will

The president has to do something on this issue, since Congress is unlikely to pick up cryptocurrency legislation this session. Democrats need to keep razor-thin majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate. To do that, they must secure big legislative wins that will help them in the midterm elections this November. And they'll start campaigning during the recess at the end of July.

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Even though 86% of adult Americans have heard of cryptocurrencies, only 16% have actually bought or traded any type of digital money. Crypto is not enough of a priority to draw voters to the voting booths. According to new Pew research released yesterday, the top three issues voters care about are: strengthening the economy, reducing healthcare costs, and addressing the pandemic. Cryptocurrencies did not even make the list of 18 voter topics.

But that doesn't seem to be keeping the White House from manufacturing a policy to showcase. It's been reported that the most recent draft of the executive directive touches on areas such as crypto’s impact on national security and the economy, and the possible need for a unique regulatory framework for digital assets.

We'll have to see if this is just more political navel-gazing that demands agencies further study this topic which has been 13 years in the making, or if it's an executive edict that takes some real action.

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