8 sources provide input on digital assets to federal agency

Amid many crypto industry comments published in response to the executive order on digital assets, the federal agency received a document mandated by U.S. President Joe Biden's March 9 executive order from eight possible sources.

In United States President Joe Biden's March 9 executive order "Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets" is a framework for enhancing United States economic competitiveness in digital asset technologies. The Commerce Department has until September 5 to submit its report, which was created in response to the requirements outlined in that executive order. Before releasing it, the Commerce Department asked for public input on the report through July 5, using 17 questions as a starting point for discussion.

As of midday on July 5, the Commerce Department had received eight comments. They varied from a few paragraphs to pages of detailed analysis. Mastercard's 16-page response was the longest.

In its response, Mastercard said the United States was in a strong position as both a financial services and technological innovation hub. It urged several steps be taken to preserve those advantages. Lack of regulatory clarity is a significant obstacle for business and innovation, Mastercard wrote, adding:

“Mastercard therefore supports the view that the U.S. administration should consider leadership in the regulation of digital assets as a key enabler of the overall competitiveness of American firms in this sector.”

Mastercard said countries are imposing burdensome requirements on businesses in the sector, and it recommended that U.S. trade agreements include an "approach to the treatment of digital trade."

The Chamber of Progress, a tech trade group, urged regulatory clarity and workforce development to keep the U.S.'s leading position. The Proof of Stake Alliance touted proof-of-stake technologies as “the future of digital asset innovation” in its carefully worded responses to four of the department's questions.

A senior research fellow from Mercatus Center, who was on a visit to George Mason University, argued at length for relief from “the heavy regulatory burden that US digital asset businesses bear” and the need for privacy protections.

The American Bankers Association also supported regulatory clarity, but condemned the Securities and Exchange Commission's Staff Accounting Bulletin 121 for hurting competition. It praised existing U.S. payment systems and called the benefits of a U.S. CBDC "unlikely to be realized" and "uncertain". The Independent Community Bankers of America openly opposed a U.S.-based CBDC, saying that digital assets “present numerous significant threats, including financial crimes and risks for financial stability”

The executive order on digital asset development called for over a dozen written responses. The first of those was published by the Justice Department in June. Commerce's framework is one of five documents expected to be released September 7.