The White House issued guidance outlining the government's regulatory approach to digital assets. The framework, titled First-Ever Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets, included information submitted by nine regulators on digital asset regulation pursuant to EO 14067 ("Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets").

The framework is primarily focused on the dangers of digital assets and the need for aggressive enforcement. In this regard, the framework:

  • calls on the SEC and the CFTC to "aggressively pursue investigations and enforcement actions" in the digital asset space;

  • encourages the CFPB and FTC to "redouble their efforts to monitor consumer compliances and to enforce against unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices";

  • asks all agencies to "address current and emergent risks" and "share data on consumer complaints"; and

  • requests that the Financial Literacy Education Commission "help consumers understand the risks."

The White House emphasizes that digital assets have been exploited by bad actors to "launder illicit proceeds, to finance terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to conduct a wide array of other crimes." Among identified risks, the White House highlights the "rise of ransomware cybercriminals, narcotics sales and money laundering for drug trafficking organizations and the funding of activities or rogue regimes" such as North Korea.

The framework also recognized FedNow, and the potential adoption of a "federal framework to regulation nonbank payment providers" or the development of a U.S. central bank digital currency.

Commentary 

The White House framework associates digital assets with every major problem in the world (from cyber crime, to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to drug trafficking, to the support of North Korea and 10 or 20 other problems as well). This does not suggest that the White House will be interested in supporting legislative or regulatory change that would allow developers of digital assets to mass market their products in the United States.