White House Executive Order on Cryptocurrencies & Digital Assets: What Does it Mean for You?

Dr. Bina Ramamurthy, University at Buffalo
April 21, 2022
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A recent executive order from the White House sought to address cryptocurrency and digital assets, but what does that mean for you?

White House Executive Order on Cryptocurrencies & Digital Assets: What Does it Mean for You?

On March 9, the White House issued an executive order to address the euphoria around cryptocurrencies and digital assets. This policy statement from the White House is indeed quite comprehensive, detailing the administration's position focusing on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or "Digital Dollar" and digital assets. It recognizes the advances in distributed ledger technology (DLT, aka blockchain) and its impact on financial services. The order further emphasizes that domestic laws and regulations govern the products emanating from the advances in cryptocurrencies. Monitory authorities around the world are exploring the potential of CBDC. The White House, through this policy, expresses its awareness and strong involvement in the technological innovation of cryptocurrencies and in protecting the consumers, businesses, and investors.  

The policy's objectives cover a wide range of technological advancements, modernizing the public payment system, global financial stability, cybercrime, energy consumption, and climate change. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy will coordinate the effort among several cabinet departments, directorates, and councils. Most notable is the involvement of the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Director of the National Science Foundation. The agencies mentioned in the policy statement will discover, explore, study, design, and develop artifacts and report back to Congress within a specified period about the opportunities around digital assets, their feasibilities, and concerns. For example, within 90 days of this order, the respective agencies report to Congress and the president about illicit crime around cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Particular emphasis is given to a report (due within 180 days) about the broader adoption of digital assets, the future of payment systems, and the design, development, and implications of CBDC.  

The executive order also expects the cabinet departments and councils to reach out and seek the cooperation of their counterparts in the international organizations such as G7 and G20 and financial organizations FTF and FSB. It also proposes using blockchain, the underlying infrastructure of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, to monitor economic impact and climate impacts. This action is expected to enable appropriate measures (policies) to mitigate the detrimental effects of crypto-related activities on natural resources and the environment.

The policy order defines five terms: blockchain, CBDC, cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and stablecoins. These terms are indeed the focal points around which revolves the position of the White House on cryptocurrencies and CDBC. This policy statement has a clear timeline and roadmap with specific charges to the various cabinet departments and financial agencies such as Federal Reserve. With this executive order, the U.S. government has announced that it is all-hands-on-deck to streamline crypto-related activities for including all and taking a leadership role in advancing responsible technology and economic innovations.

This order will evoke significant chatter from street corners to stock markets. It will surely encourage individuals and businesses not to stay on the sidelines, but get started by examining the impact in their operations and plans for blockchain and digital assets.

We plan to continue watching and reporting periodically to keep you informed. To be continued.

Dr. Bina Ramamurthy, University at Buffalo
Dr. Bina Ramamurthy, University at Buffalo

SUNY Chancellor Award-Winning Professor Bina Ramamurthy of the University at Buffalo has led the very successful global class “Blockchain Specialization” on Coursera’s platform, focused on Blockchain Introduction, Smart Contracts, Decentralized Apps, and Blockchain Platforms. These four courses consist of 56 modules of 90 lessons, with over 300,000 learners worldwide. This effort was followed in 2019-2020 with a deeper dive into Dapp programming to help freelancers and developers to learn blockchain-based decentralized programming, with the publication of “Blockchain in Action” published by Manning. She is developing a comprehensive curriculum consisting of three courses for an undergraduate track in blockchain technology. Additionally, Dr. Ramamurthy has been an invited speaker at many events, including ones by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) of NY, The Interpol (international police) working group, and the European Patent Office (EPO) workshop. She is also the Director of the Blockchain ThinkLab center and has hosted two high-profile and well attended Western New York Blockchain hackathons. UB Blockchain ThinkLab is supported by generous funds from Foundry Digital LLC of Rochester, NY. In addition, Dr. Ramamurthy has also received a grant from Automation Alley, a non-profit organization in Troy, Michigan, for research on Blockchain-based governance in the manufacturing industry.

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