President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order this week prompting different federal agencies to look into cryptocurrencies and examine how they should be regulated in the US, according to multiple reports.
The bill could be signed as soon as Wednesday. It will not lay out specific policy, according to Politico. Instead, it will direct agencies to complete a series of studies over the coming months.
"We could see a significant shift in policy in 180 days. This is a likely step toward creation of a central bank digital currency," a source familiar with the subject told Reuters.
Among the other areas expected in the EO is a directive to the Treasury Department, Justice Department, Commerce Department and other agencies to review a possible central bank digital currency.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Office of Science and Technology Policy will also look into the potential impacts of crypto on the environment.
Overall, the anticipated contents of the EO are less restrictive or severe than some commentators first feared when word of a Biden move on this front first emerged. Rather, the focus seems to be fact-finding by the responsible agencies, but more will become apparent once the actual text is made available for review.
In January, the Federal Reserve published a report on central bank digital currencies, looking at the pros and cons of potentially adopting such a currency in the U.S. and how that would affect different players in the traditional finance system. The full document is available here.
As the Biden administration continues the path toward a possible future digital currency, many legislators have pushed for stricter regulations on crypto — particularly last week amid the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.