Biden’s cryptocurrency executive order addresses illicit financial risks

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.

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.




Biden’s cybersecurity executive order, a progress report

Of the 46 tasks President Biden mandated to protect digital government assets, 19 are now completed, though not all agencies have reported their progress.

On May 12, 2021, President Biden released a comprehensive cybersecurity executive order, EO 14028, entitled Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. The complex order responded to a chain of startling and damaging cybersecurity incidents that primarily occurred during Biden’s first few months in office.

The EO gave several federal government agencies tight deadlines to produce new rules and guidance on stringent cybersecurity requirements that the White House hopes will better protect government offices from malicious digital activity. In addition, the administration designed the order to spur federal government hardware and software suppliers to ratchet up their security efforts to hang onto their government contracts. The hope is that by exercising the power of the purse, the federal government’s new rules would have a positive spillover effect for private sector organizations, too.

Cybersecurity EO mandates 46 actions

The order requires 46 actions to be carried out by the Commerce Department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Defense Department (DOD), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Director of National Intelligence, the Attorney General, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council, and other government-related entities. Exemplifying the whole-of-government approach favored by this White House, virtually all the tasks assigned under the EO require collaboration by multiple government agencies.

Some government agencies, notably the NSA, have made little to no public comment on some or all their tasks under the EO. Therefore, it isn’t easy to gauge how far along some actions are to completion. Moreover, the deadlines for at least 11 of those tasks have yet to arrive.

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.

Photo by Christina Kirschnerova on Unsplash