The Emerging Regulatory Landscape of Cryptocurrency

Investing is often accompanied by risk. However, the emergence of cryptocurrency as a digital asset has challenged traditional notions of investment particularly because of crypto’s decentralized nature. The absence of a central authority regulating cryptocurrency has raised the question of whether regulations are warranted in this area. Despite this, investors have taken to “crypto’s” decentralized nature as an opportunity for entrepreneurial gain. With the rising popularity of crypto, the U.S. government has begun developing a framework to regulate the inherent risks. However, one can surmise that there are complexities in striking a balance between protecting consumers and investors while also encouraging innovation. Within that fray lies the question of whether cryptocurrency will be treated as a security or a commodity.

In early March, the Biden administration released its executive order “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.” The executive order focused upon six objectives: consumer and investor protection, financial inclusion, promoting financial stability, responsible innovation, U.S. leadership in the global financial system, and countering illicit finance. To achieve these priorities, the executive order calls upon federal agencies to provide input regarding the adoption of digital assets and its implications on the financial market. Despite the well-intentioned purpose of the executive order, it still leaves investors with questions on how best to proceed.