Biden issues executive order on ensuring responsible development of digital assets | Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Last week, the Biden administration issued an executive order on ensuring responsible development of digital assets. As Blockchain/Web3.0/Metaverse innovations progress, the administration is taking initial steps to review regulatory frameworks for responsible use of the technology. The executive order directs several U.S. departments and agencies to release reports on potential regulatory bases ranging from financial integrity, cybersecurity and privacy to climate. The various federal stakeholders are required to begin reporting on their progress 90, 120, 180 days and one year from the date of the executive order.

Blockchain proponents are encouraged by the administration’s moves, while other College watchers wonder if meaningful blockchain regulation will be enacted in the near future. While it’s unclear what substantive guidance or regulations (if any) will ultimately emerge, this order underscores the administration’s recognition of the explosive impact of blockchain technology on global commerce, including significant ramifications for financial instruments, intellectual property protection, privacy and cybersecurity. Among the US policy objectives to consider with respect to digital assets are:

  • Cybersecurity safeguards to promote the responsible development of digital assets and to protect consumers, investors and businesses; maintaining confidentiality; and protect against arbitrary or unlawful surveillance, which may contribute to human rights abuses.
  • Appropriate compliance with regulatory and oversight standards for digital assets similar to those governing traditional market infrastructures and financial firms, and consistent with the general principle of “same business, same risks, same rules”.
  • Appropriate controls and accountability for current and future digital asset systems to promote high standards of transparency, privacy, and security that combat illicit activity and preserve or enhance the effectiveness of our national security tools.
  • Responsible development and design of digital assets and technology that underpin new forms of payments and capital flows in the international financial system that promote democratic values; the rule of law; privacy; consumer, investor and business protection; and interoperability with digital platforms, legacy architecture and international payment systems.
  • Responsible innovation that expands equitable access to financial services, especially for Americans underserved by the traditional banking system, including making investments and domestic and cross-border remittances and payments cheaper, faster, and more secure , and by favoring increasingly expensive services. effective access to financial products and services.
  • Responsible digital asset architecture and controls that reduce negative climate impacts and environmental pollution from cryptocurrency mining.

The College is leading a whole-of-government approach and will leverage resources from various government departments and agencies, including:

  • The Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Homeland Security, Administrator of the ‘Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the director of the National Science Foundation and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

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