America is not lagging behind in the crypto race. During the last hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Service, Rep. Maxine Waters (D) announced the creation of a working group aimed at studying and regulating the crypto industry.
“As Cryptocurrencies grow exponentially, I have organized a working group of Democratic members to engage with regulators and experts to do a deep dive on this poorly understood and minimally regulated industry. Today we continue this discussion by considering Central Bank Digital Currencies, which are being created by governments around the world, and which the Federeal Reserve is actively reviewing.”
CBDCs and Crypto Need More Study Before Being Regulated
Waters explained that CBDCs have the ability to improve the country’s financial system through technological innovation but stressed that an in-depth study of the topic is needed for them to be differentiated from common cryptocurrencies.
Waters has been a vocal crypto skeptic for a long time and has already used her influence to slow down the previous administration’s progress on this issue.
In late 2020, after Joe Biden’s victory, Waters signed a letter requesting the new president to rescind the regulations issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency focused on regulating banks and their relationships with crypto and stablecoins in general.
According to Waters, the OCC had overstepped its powers when issuing its interpretations, allowing banks to hold stablecoins in their reserves. Her petition also affected the OCC’s authority to continue granting banking licenses to crypto businesses.
Waters did not disclose who the other members of the task force would be or which institutions they would collaborate with.
Two Sides of One Coin
There are conflicting positions among U.S. policymakers when it comes to crypto regulations. The SEC recently left cryptocurrencies off its regulatory agenda for the next quarter, showing that there is no major concern about regulating the space.
However, the landscape is changing among lawmakers. While there are some pro-crypto voices in the Senate, like Cynthia Lummis, there are also influential figures who are not very sympathetic to the decentralized world of cryptocurrencies.
In addition to Waters, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Roy Blunt recently criticized crypto, warning that cryptocurrencies have played a vital role in the boom of ransomware attacks, as well as helping with the worsening of the climate crisis.
The United States is also trying to move forward with the design and implementation of a possible digital dollar. The project hasn’t gained momentum yet, but it hasn’t been completely discarded either.
Much of the motivation for the industry’s growth is China’s progress in this area. In fact, working groups have already been created to study the impact that the DCEP, China’s digital currency, will have when it is implemented.