White House wants encryption rules as a matter of national security

White House wants encryption rules as a matter of national security

The White House National Security Council would also be involved, the person said, since crypto has economic implications for national security. Along those lines, the administration would instruct agencies to work on harmonizing regulations of digital assets between countries. The State Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, and Council of Economic Advisers would be involved in the initiative. “Because digital assets don’t stay in one country, it’s necessary to work with other countries on synchronization,” the person said.

The national security memorandum, expected to come in the next few weeks, would task parts of the government with analyzing digital assets and assembling a regulatory framework that covers cryptos, stablecoins, and NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, this person said. The Biden administration is preparing to release an executive action that will task federal agencies with regulating digital assets such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a matter of national security, a person familiar with the White House’s plan tells Barron’s.

“This is designed to look holistically at digital assets and develop a set of policies that give coherency to what the government is trying to do in this space,” the person said. Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images

The White House aims to bring order to the haphazard approach that the government is now using to regulate crypto, the person said. Various agencies oversee the industry, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. But there’s no consensus on matters such as whether some tokens should be registered as securities, or how to oversee exchanges, stablecoins, and high-yield lending products. Congress has held multiple hearings on cryptos in recent months, exposing partisan divides between Republicans and Democrats on how to regulate the industry. Bloomberg earlier this month reported on the White House’s plan.

White House officials declined to comment. The White House wouldn’t issue recommendations. Agencies would be given three to six months to come up with proposals, and the White House would act as a policy coordinator.

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