Janet Yellen says crypto 'playing a significant role' in Americans’ investment decisions, but 'valid concerns' remain

Crypto is now playing a significant role in Americans’ investment decisions, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin on Friday during CNBC’s Squawk Box news program.

“Well, crypto has obviously grown by leaps and bounds and it’s now playing a significant role, not really so much in transactions, but in investment decisions of lots of Americans,” Yellen said. She was responding to Sorkin’s question referencing the recent news that a Russian lawmaker was floating bitcoin as a payment option for energy exports, and where that leaves the current conversation around crypto.

However, Yellen confirmed that she still has some skepticism around crypto, despite recognizing its benefits.


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“I have a little bit of skepticism because I’m — there are, I think, valid concerns around it. Some have to do with financial stability, consumer investor protection, use for illicit transactions and other things," Yellen said. "On the other hand, there are benefits from crypto and we recognize that innovation in the payment system can be a healthy thing."

Yellen mentioned President Joe Biden’s recent executive order during the interview, which directs the treasury department and other agencies to study the regulation of cryptocurrency and digital assets. The order focuses on priorities such as financial stability, protections for consumers and investors and illicit activity.

Yellen previously said in a statement the approach "will support responsible innovation that could result in substantial benefits for the nation, consumers, and businesses." She has previously said that her department will partner with agencies to produce a report about the future of money and payment systems.

About Author

Kristin Majcher is a senior correspondent at The Block, based in Colombia. She covers the Latin America market. Before joining, she worked as a freelancer with bylines in Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and MIT Technology Review among other publications.