President Biden’s widely praised executive order on crypto took a mysterious twist with the replacement of one word.
The title of the executive order, which the White House issued Wednesday, was quietly revised from "Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Innovation in Digital Assets" to "Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets."
“You're the first to point that out to me,” Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, who had called the Biden order a milestone, told Protocol, and promised to investigate.
The "innovation" version appears in several places online, including a New Jersey state website, the Benton Institute's website and even the URL of a White House fact sheet, suggesting the change was made late in the process of releasing the order.
Michael Philipp, a partner with Morgan Lewis, which handles crypto industry cases, called the change “interesting.”
“I don’t know what to make of that,” he told Protocol. ”'Innovation' is often a word used by industry to say we should promote technological innovation. It's a public-policy good. 'Development' is maybe a more neutral term but in many ways acknowledges that the thing being developed is worthwhile and has merits.”
Another way of looking at the word change is that "innovation" emphasizes the subject's novelty, with a suggestion that it's just an experiment, while "development" suggests it's already here to stay.
The White House could not immediately be reached for comment.