On January 27, the Biden administration presented a roadmap for mitigating cryptocurrency risks to ensure that cryptocurrencies do not undermine financial stability, investors are protected, and bad actors are held accountable. At President Biden’s direction, the administration previously laid out a comprehensive framework for developing digital assets in a safe, responsible way that also identifies clear risks. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) The administration identified clear risks taken by some crypto entities, such as ignoring applicable financial regulations and basic risk controls, misleading consumers, having conflicts of interest, failing to provide adequate disclosures, or committing fraud. The roadmap also outlined actions taken by the federal banking agencies, including a recently issued joint interagency statement that highlighted key risks banks should consider when choosing to engage in crypto-related services and a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the FDIC warning companies against making false or misleading claims about digital assets being insured by the agency (covered by InfoBytes here and here). The administration also noted that agencies across the government are developing public-awareness programs to help consumers understand the risks associated with digital assets.
The administration stressed, however, that further action is needed. Priorities for digital asset research and development will be unveiled in the coming months, the administration said, adding that Congress should also step up efforts in this space. This includes expanding regulators’ powers to prevent misuses of customers’ assets, “strengthen[ing] transparency and disclosure requirements for cryptocurrency companies so that investors can make more informed decisions about financial and environmental risks,” “strengthen[ing] penalties for violating illicit-finance rules and subject cryptocurrency intermediaries to bans against tipping off criminals,” and limiting crypto risks to the financial system by following steps outlined in a recent Financial Stability Oversight Council report (covered by InfoBytes here), the administration said.