On March 9, 2022, President Biden signed a wide-ranging Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets (the “Order”).  While the Order does not mandate any particular regulatory prescriptions, it lays out key policy goals for a whole-of-government approach to digital asset regulation and directs the U.S. Government to assess the potential for a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (“CBDC”).  Reflecting the rapid growth and adoption of digital assets, the Order identifies potential benefits and risks while signifying that digital assets will be an important focus of U.S. financial regulatory efforts for the Biden Administration.

The Order emphasizes the link between federal action and national security – both in terms of ensuring appropriate regulation and in staking out a U.S. leadership role in developing digital asset technology.  Notably, in an area where some federal agencies have been criticized for moving slowly or failing to coordinate with each other, the Order mandates interagency cooperation on a series of reports, with most to be finished during 2022.  The Order sets the stage for an active and potentially transformative year for U.S. regulation of digital assets.

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