RTL Today – Digital currency: US Treasury Secretary calls for improved cryptocurrency rules

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for increased scrutiny of cryptocurrencies on Thursday, after President Joe Biden gave the go-ahead last month to work on creating a digital U.S. dollar.

Digital currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum have seen explosive growth in recent years, even as US officials have raised concerns about whether the assets are properly regulated or could be used for criminal activity.

In a speech at the American University in Washington, Yellen said better regulation of these assets would protect consumers while enabling innovation.

“As banks and other traditional financial firms become more involved in digital asset markets, regulatory frameworks will need to appropriately reflect the risks of these new activities,” Yellen said.

“And new types of intermediaries, such as digital asset exchanges and other digital native intermediaries, should be subject to appropriate forms of oversight.”

Biden’s order last month put the United States among more than 100 countries that are exploring or have launched pilot programs with their own central bank digital currencies, including China’s digital yuan, although Yellen said that the issuance of such a currency “will probably require years of development”. , not months.”

Washington has also sought to expand taxation of cryptocurrencies, with the $1 trillion national infrastructure overhaul that Congress passed last year, including provisions to expand reporting requirements for assets. digital.

Governments around the world fear that cryptocurrencies are being used to finance illicit activities.

On Tuesday, Germany shut down the illegal Russian-language darknet market Hydra, the largest such network in the world, and seized bitcoins worth $25 million.

The US Treasury has sanctioned this site and Garantex, a virtual currency exchange it claims was used to collect ransomware payments.

Yellen warned that past “financial innovation” has too often failed to benefit working families and has sometimes exacerbated inequality,” and added that the department is working with Congress to regulate stablecoins, which are crypto. – currencies backed by reserves.

Yellen called for “technology-neutral” regulations on digital assets that aim to protect consumers and businesses without hampering the technology that underpins them.

“In many cases, regulators have powers they can use to promote these goals, and the Treasury supports these efforts,” Yellen said.

“To the extent there are gaps, we will make policy recommendations, including an assessment of potential regulatory actions and legislative changes.”