In her recent remarks on digital assets, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen summarized the executive order, addressing the digitalization of finance and highlighting that new technology has raised the possibility of reduced reliance on traditional financial institutions and credit card companies. Yellen further recapped the six policy objectives outlined in the executive order:
Protect consumers, investors, and businesses
As digital assets can pose a significant financial risk, sufficient oversight and standards must be in place. The executive order emphasizes that the U.S. should ensure that safeguards are in place and promote digital assets' responsible development.
Safeguard financial stability from systemic risk
Some digital asset trading platforms and service providers have multiplied in size and complexity and may not be subject to or in compliance with appropriate regulations or supervision. Digital asset-related companies should be subject to regulatory and supervisory standards that govern traditional financial markets, in line with the "same business, same risks, same rules" philosophy.
Mitigate national security risks
Digital assets may pose significant illicit finance risks, including money laundering, cybercrime and ransomware, narcotics and human trafficking, and terrorism and proliferation financing – all warned against in FinCEN's national priorities. It is in the national interest to take action to mitigate these illicit finance and national security risks through regulation, oversight, and law enforcement action.
Promote U.S. leadership and economic competitiveness
The U.S. derives significant economic and national security benefits from the central role that the U. S. dollar and U.S. financial institutions and markets play in the global financial system. Continued leadership in the global financial system will sustain the nation’s financial power and promote its economic interests. This can be accomplished by establishing a framework to drive U.S. competitiveness and leadership in leveraging digital asset technologies.
Encourage equitable access to safe and affordable financial services
Many Americans are underbanked, and the costs of cross-border money transfers and payments are high. Affirming the critical need for safe, affordable, and accessible financial services as a U.S. national interest must inform our approach to digital asset innovation. Such secure access is essential for communities with insufficient access to financial services.
Support responsible technological advances
The executive order stated that government intends to continue to support new technologies that protect human rights, consider privacy issues, and reduce climate change. The balance between responsible development of digital assets and the risks they present is crucial to the success of the next steps in the changing financial landscape.