Monday, August 8, 2022

US Treasury calls for public comment on digital asset policy, following Biden’s executive order

The United State Department of the Treasury has requested comments from the public on the potential opportunities and risks of digital assets in compliance with President Joe Biden’s executive order from March.

In a Tuesday announcement, the U.S. Treasury said it was asking for input from the public that will “inform its work” in reporting to the president the possible implications of digital assets on the financial markets and payment infrastructures. Biden’s executive order directed the Treasury Department to take the lead among other government agencies in developing policy recommendations aimed at mitigating both systemic and consumer risks around cryptocurrencies.

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“For consumers, digital assets may present potential benefits, such as faster payments, as well as potential risks, including risks related to frauds and scams,” said Nellie Liang, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. “The Treasury Department is seeking to benefit from the expertise of the American people and market participants by soliciting public comment as we engage in this important work.”

In the request for comment published in the Federal Register on July 8, Treasury noted that the lack of financial education when handling digital assets could be a factor in rolling out any related policy to vulnerable communities:

“The rise in use of digital assets, and differences across communities, may also present disparate financial risk to less informed market participants or exacerbate inequities. It is critical to ensure that digital assets do not pose undue risks to consumers, investors, or businesses, and to put in place protections as a part of efforts to expand access to safe and affordable financial services experienced by more vulnerable populations.”

The public has until August 8 to submit comments to Treasury on what people believe could be the implications of mass adoption of crypto, both for individual investors and businesses, and the potential impact of introducing new financial products and services. In addition, the government department requested Americans weigh in on potential risks, including losing private keys and the “authenticity of digital assets, including NFTs.”

Related: Biden’s executive order promises great things for the crypto industry — Eventually

On July 7, Treasury delivered to President Biden a framework on crypto for U.S. government agencies to work with their foreign counterparts, in accordance with the executive order. Liang has previously called on Congress to pass legislation around stablecoins, and worked to promote financial literacy of digital assets among people who have limited access to mainstream financial services.