President Biden was sworn into office today. What does his inauguration say about crypto, and will his administration be good for blockchain?
Nerves and Release
Joe Biden’s inauguration today was met with fanfare and nerves. After the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol building in Washington, there was a bit of tension in the air. Eugene Goodman, a Capitol police officer who calmly and singlehandedly kept an angry group at bay, was in attendance.
At the same time, some of the inauguration’s attendees showed signs of relief as they were sworn in (or in the case of Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, sang).
US Vice President Mike Pence was also at the inauguration, but notably, President Donald Trump was absent. The outgoing president was also widely seen as anti-cryptocurrency. But Biden’s administration may be warmer to crypto.
President Biden’s address spoke to a divided country. He asked Americans to unite as a nation to stop terrorism, racism, and the demonization of American ideas.
He also asked them to put aside politics and embrace each other. Facts, he said, should inform lawmakers. Perhaps most importantly, he asked Americans to be open to new ideas and listen to one another.
The President didn’t comment specifically on economic policy, but his term could also open to new ideas like crypto. Some key members of his new administration have been supportive of a blockchain future.
The new SEC chairman Gary Gensler knows more than a little about blockchain technology. In fact, he taught blockchain at MIT. Gensler has said several positive things about crypto, including calling Bitcoin a “modern form of gold.”
Despite some criticism, Janet Yellen, the new US Secretary of the Treasury, has shown interest in crypto, according to Forbes. During her confirmation hearing on Jan 19, 2021, Yellen was asked about cryptocurrency.
Though she said she feared it must be “curtailed,” she also said she would want to change some approaches to prevent money laundering.
While she made no specific promises, there have been several developments in fighting crypto crime recently. Stopping crypto used for criminal activity seems to be a major concern for her, not the rise of the currencies themselves.
Though he may not hold the position for long, acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks is very bullish. He even imagines a future where DeFi is a major player. His office has also ruled that stablecoins can be used to settle balances at federal banks.
[Updated Jan. 21, 2020]
In an effort to potentially purge his administration from association with former president Trump, Biden has frozen many potential agency regulations, including one that may ‘unholster’ wallets and give regulatory bodies much more oversight into crypto wallet owners and their transactions.
In another ‘pro’ cryptocurrency move, it seems Biden has eyes on Michael Barr for the position of Comptroller of the Currency. Barr is an ex-Ripple Labs board member and an administrator who helped craft the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul during the Obama administration.
Biden and the 177th Congress Pro Crypto?
The new congress also has more than a passing interest in crypto.
The STABLE act was supportive of crypto with some regulation. Despite some frustration for crypto-holders, the purpose of this potential law, according to its supporters, would be to protect users from scams and fraud.
Meanwhile, incoming Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis has said Bitcoin is a better store of value. And this time around, there is a cryptocurrency caucus in congress.
Bitcoin is down a bit today, but fundamentals appear strong. Four years ago, hardly anyone had heard of it. Could this be the dip they’re looking for?
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