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Alternative Market Briefing

Other Voices: Biden issues order on digital assets

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

By Alan W. Avery, Yvette D. Valdez, from law firm Latham & Watkins LLP.

On March 9, 2022, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets (Order). In the face of rapid advancement in blockchain technology and its applications, the Order asserts that "an evolution and alignment" in the approach of the various federal agencies (Agencies) to digital assets is necessary. It directs the Agencies to study the risks of digital assets to the US economy, investors, and consumers, and to explore the development of a US central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Order also directs the Agencies to monitor and assess the impact of digital assets on financial stability and financial system integrity, the prevention of crime and illicit finance, national security, financial inclusion and equity, energy policy, and climate change.

The fact sheet accompanying the Order strikes an optimistic tone, noting that "the rise in digital assets creates an opportunity to reinforce American leadership in the global financial system and at the technological frontier." Seizing these opportunities, however, must be balanced with understanding and mitigating the risks involved. Accordingly, the Order directs the Agencies to guide responsible innovation domestically and to work cooperatively with the private sector and international partners.

The Order mandates the Agencies overseeing the financial markets and protecting consumers to identify risks, ......................

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