Tracker: Crypto and Fintech Developments in the Biden Administration

In recent months, there has been a barrage of cryptocurrency news owing to market turbulence and piecemeal regulatory developments. The cryptocurrency marketa $1.7 trillion industry that has grown substantially in the last decadestill suffers significant volatility. Moreover, cryptocurrencies fall into several regulatory gaps as federal regulatory oversight of the market is severely underdeveloped.

Crypto Tracker charts policy developments in cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, central bank digital currencies, and other digital assets from federal, state, and international regulators.

Activity Breakdown


6/13/2022 Crypto markets suffer shock as lender Celsius Network announces it will halt withdrawals amid regulator scrutiny.

6/10/2022 Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo indicates that Treasury will crack down on cryptocurrency wallets that allow consumers to buy and sell digital assets anonymously.

6/8/2022 New York State Department of Financial Services issues new stablecoin guidance following Terra USD collapse.

6/7/2022 Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand release a bipartisan proposal seeking to establish a complete regulatory framework for currencies. The proposal puts the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) front and center, which suggests that cryptocurrencies should be considered commodities rather than securitiesa view favorable to industry.

6/2/2022 New York lawmakers pass the first limited moratorium on digital currency mining at fossil fuel plants.

5/26/2022 House Financial Services Committee holds hearing on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs); presses Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard to not proceed without congressional legislation.

5/23/2022 A Fed survey indicates that the majority of Americans who hold cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are wealthy and banked.

5/18/2022 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler calls for an increased budget for the SEC to combat cryptocurrency crime.

5/17/2022 SEC Chair Gensler calls for enhanced investor protections following a market slump.

5/11/2022 Bitcoin loses 6 percent of its value in a major shock to the cryptocurrency market. TerraUSD cryptocurrency collapses, wiping out $45 million in value in a few days.

5/6/2022 SEC fines computer hardware maker NVIDIA $5.5 million for failing to disclose sales linked to cryptocurrency mining.

5/3/2022 SEC nearly doubles the size of its cryptocurrency enforcement unit.

4/25/2022 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announces it will rely on a dormant authority to expand its reach to nonbanks and fintechs.

4/25/2022 Top European Central Bank (ECB) official remarks that crypto assets should be taxed, especially if they have a high carbon footprint.

4/22/2022 House Democrats request Environmental Protection Agency investigate crypto mining impacts.

4/7/2022 FDIC urges banks to consult before providing cryptocurrency services.

4/7/2022 Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in remarks that it is too early to tell if cryptocurrencies or digital asset technology will live up to promise.

4/6/2022 Sen. Pat Toomey releases discussion draft that would create a regulatory framework for stablecoins centered on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

4/4/2022 SEC Chair Gensler pushes for SEC and CFTC to provide joint oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges.

3/31/2022 SEC issues new accounting guidance for cryptocurrency exchanges.

3/9/2022 Biden Administration releases executive order embarking on a whole-of-government, comprehensive approach to the regulation of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

2/22/2022 California lawmakers follow Wyoming and Arizona in proposing legislation to allow its citizens to pay taxes in cryptocurrencies.

2/17/2022 A bipartisan group of Wyoming lawmakers propose legislation to make their state the first to have a state-backed digital token.

2/17/2022 Department of Justice adds staff dedicated to addressing ransomware and other crypto-related financial crimes following its October announcement of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

2/16/2022 Consortium of cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms launches trade group to standardize approach to money laundering and compliance.

2/15/2022 Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang tells Congress that federal regulators do not have the authority to regulate stablecoins without congressional legislation.

2/15/2022 Rep. Josh Gottheimer releases draft stablecoin bill setting up a regulatory framework.

2/14/2022 SEC fines cryptocurrency lender BlockFi $100 million in what the agency calls a first of its kind crackdown on digital asset trading.

2/9/2022 Senate Agricultural Committee pushes for more CFTC oversight of cryptocurrency markets; CFTC notes that its cyber defenses are poorly prepared to defend against a cyberattack.

2/8/2022 House Financial Services Committee holds hearing on stablecoins, demonstrating that lawmakers are not advanced in cryptocurrency or digital asset legislation.

2/3/2022 Boston Fed releases research on the possible technological underpinnings of a CBDC, publishing open-source code.

1/31/2022 Wyoming and Arizona advance proposals that would allow taxpayers to make tax payments in cryptocurrencies.

1/31/2022 Facebook sells controversial cryptocurrency, first pitched as Libra and later rebranded as Diem.

1/24/2022 Rep. Patrick McHenry implores House Financial Services Chair Rep. Maxine Waters to accelerate legislation on cryptocurrency and digital asset rules before federal agencies decide to act.

1/20/2022 House Energy and Commerce Committee holds hearing on the climate impacts of crypto mining.

1/20/2022 Fed issues initial paper on a U.S. digital currency and requests public feedback in what is seen as the first definitive step taken by the Fed on a CBDC.

1/12/2022 House Rep. Tom Emmer introduces a bill that would prevent the Fed from issuing a CBDC.

1/11/2022 Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicates to the Senate Banking Committee that he is open to giving crypto banks access to Fed payment rails and Fed accounts.

1/11/2022 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can no longer provide a hedge against investments due to a significant increase in the correlation between digital assets and traditional asset classes.

12/17/2021 FSOC urges Congress to act on cryptocurrency regulation; points to risks but does not provide timeline, noting that if Congress does not act it will do so itself.

12/14/2021 Senate Banking Committee holds hearing on risks posed by stablecoins.

12/9/2021 Senior IMF officials stress need for global cryptocurrency regulation before the market destabilizes economies.

12/8/2021 Cryptocurrency CEOs appear for the first time before House Financial Services Committee, seeking transparent legislative framework.

11/23/2021 OCC reverses Trump Administration guidance, emphasizing that banks must seek permission before engaging in crypto-related activities on behalf of their clients.

11/4/2021 Incoming New York City mayor Eric Adams vows to take first three paychecks in Bitcoin.

11/2/2021 In direct opposition to comments made by the CFTC, SEC Chair Gensler notes that most cryptocurrencies and digital assets should fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC, with only a really, really small number appropriately treated as commodities.

11/1/2021 Treasury and other federal agencies release highly anticipated report on stablecoins, noting that stablecoin issuers should be treated as banks and calling on Congress to legislate this.

10/27/2021 Acting CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam urges Congress to expand the CFTCs authority to regulate digital assets.

10/15/2021 CFTC orders cryptocurrencies Tether and Bitfinex to pay $42.5 million in fines for misleading statements that the currencies were backed by the U.S. dollar.

10/12/2021 Former Boston Fed Chief Eric Rosengren notes that the policy questions posed by a CBDC are far more complex than the technical challenges; notes, however, that any U.S. CBDC is unlikely to be based on blockchain.

10/06/2021 The International Organization of Securities Commissions releases in-depth report considering the systemic risk posed by stablecoins.

10/1/2021 IMF calls for global standards to reduce the risks posed by cryptocurrencies.

9/30/2021 The Bank for International Settlements sets out framework for a CBDC that will minimize the necessary but controllable damage to bank lending and profitability.

9/21/2021 Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu publicly pushes back on claims by the cryptocurrency industry that crypto can reduce financial inequality.

9/20/2021 Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase drops plans to launch product, alleging that the SEC threatened to sue to prevent the issue.

9/16/2021 Sen. Maggie Hassan calls on federal agencies in letter to Attorney General Garland to improve the policing of crypto crimes.

9/14/2021 SEC Chair Gensler testifies before the Senate on crypto regulation, notes that the Supreme Court has provided sufficient precedent to back the idea that some cryptocurrencies

are securities and others are commodities.

8/4/2021 Cryptocurrency tax provisions, a very small part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, prove controversial enough to threaten the entire bill; an eventual amendment to the original text infuriates industry.

8/3/2021 SEC Chair Gensler notes at a conference that further congressional legislation is required to police the Wild West of the cryptocurrency market.

7/19/2021 Treasury Secretary Yellen urges federal regulators to act quickly to regulate stablecoins.

7/14/2021 ECB announces the commencement of a 24 month digital euro experiment.

7/13/2021 Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and OCC request comment on guidance setting out the acceptable parameters for bank-fintech partnerships.

6/8/2021 Internal Revenue Service chief Charles Rettig requests additional authority from Congress to police cryptocurrency.

6/3/2021 Federal appeals court reverses a previous ruling that held that the OCC had exceeded its authority when it started to accept bank charter applications from fintechs.

5/19/2021 Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown urges the OCC against granting federal charters to cryptocurrency fintechs.

5/18/2021 OCC Acting Chair Hsu notes in congressional testimony the challenges facing federal regulators given the lack of a unified federal strategy for dealing with the risks posed by fintech developments, including artificial intelligence and blockchain.

2/23/2021 Fed Chair Powell notes that a digital dollar is a very high priority for the Fed.

1/21/2021 European Commission announces intent to introduce a digital euro within five years.

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