Early indications are that the cryptocurrency industry will work with the U.S. government to help minimize risk and make it harder for cybercriminals to profit from their activities.
The Biden administration issued its much-anticipated cryptocurrency executive order, laying out a wide-ranging investigation into digital assets to gain at least a preliminary grasp on how to address the rapidly growing $3 trillion financial market and its role in ransomware and other illicit activities. The order, entitled “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets,” outlines a series of far-reaching goals, including reducing the risks that digital assets could pose to consumers and investors, improving business protections, financial stability, and financial system integrity, combating and preventing crime and illicit finance, enhancing national security, fostering human rights and financial inclusion, and addressing climate change and pollution.
“Without oversight, the explosive growth in cryptocurrency use would pose risks to Americans and to the stability of our businesses, our financial system, and our national security,” an administration official said during a press briefing preceding the order’s release. “The absence of sufficient oversight can also provide opportunities for criminals and other malicious actors to leverage cryptocurrencies to launder the proceeds of their crimes or circumvent justly-applied sanctions,” the official said.
Reflective of the order’s even-handed tone, the official added, “At the same time, however, digital assets can also provide opportunities for American innovation and competitiveness, and promote financial inclusion.” To ensure that the U.S. government is not left out of these opportunities, the order also spells out a series of measures to create a federal central bank digital currency (CBDC) that at least 80 monetary authorities around the world are also exploring, and, in some cases, have introduced.
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