Treasury's Yellen to Deliver First Speech on Crypto in US Economy

The U.S. official will discuss policy and regulation in a speech in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

AccessTimeIconApr 5, 2022 at 3:42 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:34 p.m. UTC

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is about to tell the crypto industry what she thinks of it in her first official speech to focus on digital assets.

Yellen will outline how the Treasury Department views cryptocurrencies as an emerging part of the U.S. economy Thursday at American University in Washington, D.C. The 10:30 a.m. ET speech is expected to echo some of the sentiments expressed previously in President Joe Biden’s executive order calling for further scrutiny on the industry.

"Secretary Yellen will make the case for a consistent and comprehensive policy framework that promotes responsible innovation of digital assets and appropriately assesses and mitigates the risks they may pose," according to a Tuesday statement issued by the Treasury Dept.

Yellen's agency, as well as the Biden administration and federal regulatory agencies have been devoting a lot more attention to crypto since last year – especially toward stablecoins. The Treasury Dept. was instrumental in drafting last year’s report from the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets that marked the government’s opening salvo on establishing rules for dollar-backed stablecoins.

U.S. regulators have been leaning heavily on Congress to authorize new rules that govern stablecoin issuers in much the same way the government oversees banks. If lawmakers fail to produce results, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve are planning to use another channel – the umbrella group of top regulators known as the Financial Stability Oversight Council – to push for new oversight, despite limits on the council’s powers.

An early crypto skeptic during her time as Fed chair, Yellen has since struck a more careful tone that acknowledges the industry’s financial innovations and that digital tokens and decentralized finance are playing increasingly important roles in Americans’ investments.

UPDATE (April 5, 16:26 UTC): Adds additional information from the Treasury in third paragraph; corrects that the speech is Thursday.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.