Secretary Yellen recognizes ‘benefits of crypto’ despite lingering skepticism



Janet Yellen, the 78th United States Secretary of the Treasury, spoke Friday morning on CNBC’s flagship business and politics show Squawk Box, on an array of topics from the growth of the renewable energy sector amid Russia’s economic isolation, the rising levels of inflation and Federal Reserve responsibility, as well as her current perspective on digital assets.

Recognizing the multitude of technological and societal advancements within the cryptocurrency space over the past few years, Yellen offered a friendlier, more receptive tone than on previous occasions, stating that crypto is “now playing a significant role, not really so much in transactions, but in investment decisions of lots of Americans.” 

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“There are benefits from crypto, and we recognise that innovations in the payments system can be a healthy thing.”

Alongside this, Yellen was keen to raise some concerns around the market’s financial stability — an assessment often levelled at the industries highly-volatile assets from experts and officials operating within the Wall Street jurisdiction — in addition to consumer investment protection, and its usage for illicit transactions.

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Yellen’s historical sentiment of digital assets can be quaintly summarised by recalling her remarks at the February 2021 U.S. Financial Sector Innovation Policy Roundtable: “I see the promise of these new technologies, but I also see the reality”, continuing to list problems with money laundering, online drug traffickers and finance terrorism in the industry.

Related: Janet Yellen let slip details of Biden‘s executive order on crypto

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on crypto — his 82nd under tenure — and one which advocated for a unification of all regulatory bodies in publishing consumer-centric financial frameworks.

Industry leaders largely praised the order and spoke with hope on the opportunities it could present moving forward, with Yellen herself stating that it could “result in substantial benefits for the nation, consumers, and businesses.”