Hopeful Biden – what (bitcoin) course will the new US president take?
The nightmare has come to an end, all signs point to a new beginning – this or something similar is the headline of a newspaper these days in view of the changing of the guard in the White House. Be it for world trade, environmental protection, transatlantic relations – a few days after his inauguration, US President Joe Biden is already being hailed as a saviour. However, it remains to be seen what Bitcoin Millionaire course his administration will set for the crypto sector. With Treasury Secretary-designate Yellen and OCC chief Barr, Biden’s personnel merry-go-round is likely to seem more like a rollercoaster ride to crypto enthusiasts.
New optimism – Biden stops regulatory push with first official acts
There is „no time to waste“, the new US President Joe Biden is quoted as saying. With his first official acts, the 78-year-old has recently taken action and is trying to undo some of his predecessor’s advances. In the process, Biden also sowed hope for the crypto sector and initially froze several regulatory procedures. This also affects the recently particularly controversial push against unhosted wallets, which was initiated under Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Now the Biden administration wants to take a close look at it.
US Treasury Secretary-designate Yellen takes aim at cryptocurrencies
Mnuchin will be replaced by former US Federal Reserve Banker Janet Yellen. After her official hearing, the designated Treasury Secretary is currently waiting for the Senate’s blessing. Due to the Democratic majority, however, she should soon be in a position to redirect the recently critical course of the authorities. But Yellen’s answers to the senators are likely to have dampened the mood of some: For example, the former Fed chief – similar to ECB President Christin Lagarde recently – warned that cryptocurrencies are often used for „illegal transactions“ and „money laundering“.
At the same time, the US president is considering a crypto friend for the post as the new head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). If Biden has his way, the former Ripple advisory board member and financial official Michael Barr will steer the agency’s fortunes in future. Barr would be responsible for supervising the payment, competition and functioning of US banks and credit institutions. The crypto community should see his appointment as a ray of hope. After all, it is not only the blockchain adaptation of banks that falls under his remit. Observers are already speculating that Barr could step into the breach as a mediator in the legal dispute between his former employer and the securities regulator SEC.
Meanwhile, former US President Trump caused no less of a stir. In what was probably one of his last acts in office, he pardoned Ken Kurson, a former member of the Ripple board of directors, alongside numerous criminals and suspects, some of them prominent. The FBI last investigated the former journalist on suspicion of cyber-stalking and harassment. For Ripple, however, his unexpected freedom is unlikely to be relevant. There are other things to worry about these days anyway.
Digital central bank money – French central bank settles CBDC transaction
In the face of such headlines, the ongoing race towards central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) is easily forgotten. However, recent news from France shows that the state initiative is anything but stagnant. Here, the Banque de France recently announced the successful testing of an in-house CBDC pilot. While the monetary guardians of the Netherlands, Sweden and the European Central Bank (ECB) continue to work on their own experiments, the Paris-based central bank has become a pioneer in Europe.