Fintech

Biden is unveiling his crypto game plan

With the crypto industry complaining about "patchwork" regulation, the White House is showing it takes digital assets seriously.

Treasury Department

The Treasury Department will study cryptocurrencies under a new White House executive order.

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on cryptocurrencies Wednesday that lays out his administration’s game plan for a fast-moving and controversial technology, officials said.

The order is described as a “first-ever, whole-of-government” approach to digital assets as they are rapidly upending the global financial system and, with the war in Ukraine, have become an important foreign policy concern.

Biden is not expected to unveil any specific proposals, based on a briefing by senior administration officials. But the order will direct the executive branch to pursue a range of initiatives in areas which have already received considerable attention from federal agencies and Congress.

  • The order will direct the Treasury Department and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which includes key agencies like the SEC and CFPB, to study the impact of crypto on markets and major financial institutions amid worries that the rise of digital assets could destabilize the financial system.
  • The order urges the Commerce Department to come up with a framework to help ensure U.S. leadership in digital asset innovation. It also endorses the ongoing effort of the Federal Reserve to explore the introduction of an official U.S. central bank digital currency or digital dollar. The Atlantic Council has found that the U.S. is “furthest behind” among major economies in its efforts to develop a CBDC.
  • Biden will also focus the government on the fight against the use of crypto in criminal and illicit activity. The effort addresses concerns that associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin will use it to bypass sanctions, although FinCEN recently said that using crypto for large-scale sanctions evasion was not practical.

The executive order was the result of a series of discussions with experts within the U.S. government and other stakeholders, including sessions that the officials called Crypto Sundays, the officials said.

Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, a major crypto lobbying organization, called the executive order “a major milestone for the crypto industry,” which has had to deal with “a patchwork of rules from multiple agencies, with guidelines that are sometimes vague or contradictory.”

With the order’s directive to study digital assets in depth, “the U.S. has the opportunity to set clear and consistent rules of the road that nurture crypto innovation while protecting consumers,” she told Protocol.

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Photo illustration: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images; Protocol

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Now, Musk’s ongoing legal battle with Twitter is giving the rest of us a fleeting glimpse into that world. The collection of Musk’s private texts that was made public this week is chock-full of tech power brokers. While the messages are meant to reveal something about Musk’s motivations — and they do — they also say a lot about how things get done and deals get made among some of the most powerful people in the world.

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Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

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From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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James Daly
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Fintech

Circle’s CEO: This is not the time to ‘go crazy’

Jeremy Allaire is leading the stablecoin powerhouse in a time of heightened regulation.

“It’s a complex environment. So every CEO and every board has to be a little bit cautious, because there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire told Protocol at Converge22.

Photo: Circle

Sitting solo on a San Francisco stage, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire asked tennis superstar Serena Williams what it’s like to face “unrelenting skepticism.”

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

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Joe Williams is a writer-at-large at Protocol. He previously covered enterprise software for Protocol, Bloomberg and Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JoeWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.

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Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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O said watching the U.S. lag in tech policy — even as some states pass their own measures and federal bills gain momentum — has made him worry about the EU and U.S. decoupling. While not as drastic as a disentangling of economic fortunes between the West and China, such a divergence, as O describes it, could still make it functionally impossible for companies to serve users on both sides of the Atlantic with the same product.

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Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

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