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The White House has released a fact sheet on President Biden's Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Innovation in Digital Assets.
The fact sheet says that President Biden will today sign an Executive Order "outlining the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets."
Today's news marks the end of a prolonged period of speculation as to when exactly this Executive Order would arrive. In January, Bloomberg said it may be signed in February. That did not happen. In February, Yahoo Finance also said Biden was “expected to issue an executive order next week.”
Biden's crypto executive order
Specifically, the Executive Order will take aim at six "key priorities."
These are: consumer and investor protection; financial stability; illicit use of digital assets; U.S. economic leadership; fair and accessible financial inclusion; and responsible innovation.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen singled out the administration's commitment to responsible innovation in a prepared statement, accessible via the Wayback Machine here.
“President Biden’s historic executive order calls for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to digital asset policy. This approach will support responsible innovation that could result in substantial benefits for the nation, consumers, and businesses,” she said.
In addition to the above six key priorities, the White House has also said the Executive Order will explore a U.S. central bank digital currency.
"The Order directs the U.S. Government to assess the technological infrastructure and capacity needs for a potential U.S. CBDC in a manner that protects Americans' interests," the White House added.
Although it is not discussed at length, the White House has also mentioned the climate risks posed by digital assets.
"The United States must maintain technological leadership in this rapidly growing space, supporting innovation while mitigating the risks for consumers, businesses, the broader financial system, and the climate," the fact sheet reads.
Ukraine conflict as a catalyst
It is likely that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has acted as a catalyst for this executive order, given concerns Russia may use cryptocurrencies to evade economic sanctions.
Last week, Yellen said the Treasury would “continue to look at how sanctions work and evaluate whether or not there are leakages.” Regarding crypto, she added that “it’s not that the sector is completely one where things can be evaded.”
Last October, however, the Treasury released a report that said digital assets could undermine American sanctions.