The results are in! On March 9, 2022, President Biden issued an Executive Order instructing government agencies to develop frameworks and policy recommendations to advance six key priorities regarding cryptocurrencies. On September 16, the White House synthesized the responses of nine agencies to create the first comprehensive framework for responsible development of digital assets. 
Protecting Consumers, Investors, and Businesses. Among the Administration’s priorities is to encourage the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to “aggressively pursue investigation and enforcement actions against unlawful practices in the digital assets space.” Although the report doesn’t define cryptocurrencies as securities or commodities, and is silent as to what constitutes deceptive practices, public and decentralized blockchain networks, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been directed to “redouble their efforts to monitor consumer complaints and to enforce against unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices.” Various agencies are expected to issue further guidance and share data on consumer complaints related to digital assets.
Promoting Access to Safe, Affordable Financial Services. Agencies are directed to use instant payment systems for their own transactions and support the development of instant payment technologies by their payment providers, and to prioritize aligning global financial regulations while “exploring multilateral platforms.” The National Science Foundation (NSF) will support social and technical research into digital assets and collaborate with the Office and Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop a Digital Assets Research and Development Agenda.
Fostering Financial Stability. The Administration has directed the Treasury to work with other agencies and U.S. allies to identify and track emerging strategic risks to digital asset markets, and regulators are to provide guidance and technical assistance to industry stakeholders.
Advancing Responsible Innovation. The Environmental Protection Agency and others are to track the environmental impact of digital assets, develop performance standards, and provide local authorities with the tools, resources, and expertise to mitigate any environmental harm. The Department of Commerce will consider establishing a standing forum to convene agencies, industry, academics, and civil society to exchange ideas that could inform future federal regulation relating to digital assets.
Reinforcing Global Financial Leadership and Competitiveness. In an effort to remain competitive in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, U.S. agencies will increase collaboration with partner agencies globally via enforcement bodies such as the Egmont Group, bilateral information sharing platforms, and capacity building. For instance, the Department of Commerce will help cutting-edge U.S. financial technology and digital asset firms find a foothold in global markets for their products.
Fighting Illicit Finance. The Administration has directed the Treasury to enhance dialogue with the private sector to ensure that firms understand existing obligations and illicit financing risks associated with digital assets, share information, and encourage the use of emerging technologies to comply with obligations. Importantly, the Treasury will complete an illicit finance risk assessment on DeFi by the end of February 2023 and an assessment on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by July 2023. The White House also announced that it will continue exploring a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency, and a working group composed of key regulatory agencies will regularly meet and share updates regarding the implications of a U.S. CBDC.
While this Executive Order further expounds on various cryptocurrency-related policy goals, as noted, there are many areas that require further work and leave room for guidance. Leech Tishman’s Emerging Cyber Technologies Industry Group will continue to track and provide feedback on these matters.
For more information or assistance with the framework for future crypto regulation, or other cybersecurity risk management, please contact Irfan M. Dinani.
Irfan is Counsel with Leech Tishman and a member of the Corporate and Real Estate Practice Groups. He is also a member of the Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Group, and leads the firm’s Emerging Cyber Technologies Group. Irfan is based in the Pittsburgh office and can be reached at 412.261.1600 or email@example.com.
Tom Schierberl, JD Candidate 2023, Duquesne University School of Law, contributed to the research and drafting of this article.
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 White House, FACT SHEET: White House Releases First-Ever Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets (September 16, 2022),