President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order Wednesday "outlining the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology," the White House announced.
The order would address six areas of interest for the country’s oversight and exploration of emerging technology, the White House said in the statement, which noted the dramatic increase in the market value of digital assets and their use by an estimated 40 million American adults.
"The rise in digital assets creates an opportunity to reinforce American leadership in the global financial system and at the technological frontier, but also has substantial implications for consumer protection, financial stability, national security, and climate risk," the White House said Wednesday. "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 U.S. government's six priorities with regard to digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, are:
- protecting American consumers, investors and businesses;
- seeking a stable U.S. and global financial system and mitigating risks;
- thwarting illegal use of digital assets and related national security risks;
- promoting U.S. leadership in the global financial system;
- encouraging equitable access to financial services;
- supporting technological advances in the digital asset arena; and
- exploration of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The order will ask certain agencies or government entities to take the lead in some efforts. For instance, it will task the Commerce Department with leading efforts "across the U.S. Government in establishing a framework to drive U.S. competitiveness and leadership in, and leveraging of digital asset technologies." It also encouraged the Federal Reserve’s current endeavor to explore the possible development of a CBDC.
The overall market value of crypto spiked to $3 trillion last November, the White House statement noted. As the value of cryptocurrencies have increased with rising investor interest, so have private-sector efforts to use them in business and commerce.
The U.S. government will work with international partners and the private sector in pursuit of the goals, the White House said.
"The administration will continue work across agencies and with Congress to establish policies that guard against risks and guide responsible innovation, with our allies and partners to develop aligned international capabilities that respond to national security risks, and with the private sector to study and support technological advances in digital assets," Wednesday's statement said.