US Senate Confirms Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary; What Does This Mean for Crypto?
The U.S Senate has confirmed Janet Yellen on Monday as the Treasury Secretary in the newly inaugurated Biden administration with an overwhelming 84-15 vote. She takes over this position from Steven Mnuchin, who served in the Trump administration and left office last week following Biden’s inauguration.
Yellen’s era comes when crypto stakeholders are especially keen on the regulatory developments that might affect the industry. The previous Fed chairwoman had stated that she is ‘not a fan of Bitcoin,’ referring to it as a highly speculative asset.
Recently, she rubbed shoulders with the crypto community following her take that most crypto activity is attributed to illegal operations. During the Senate Financial Committee oral testimony, Yellen’s written testimony further elaborated her stance on the issue.
“I think many [cryptocurrencies] are used, at least in a transactions sense, mainly for illicit financing, and I think we really need to examine ways in which we can curtail their use.”
Nonetheless, she recognizes the underlying potential in cryptocurrencies and their supporting technology. Yellen suggested that a more prudent approach would be keeping up with the changing tech dynamics that malicious actors leverage to circumvent U.S authorities or interests.
“We need to make sure that our methods for dealing with these matters, with tech terrorist financing, change along with changing technology,”
Pending Crypto Regulations
With Yellen assuming the Treasury Secretary office, she can pick up on some active issues that Mnuchin left pending. These include crypto-focused regulatory proposals such as imposing stricter oversight for crypto wallets; it is currently frozen as part of President Biden’s recent decision to halt all pending agency rulemaking.
Other proposed FinCEN rules include reporting $10,000 or more for U.S citizens who hold an equivalent amount of crypto assets overseas. The financial regulatory body also wants to place a KYC threshold requirement of $250 for U.S cross-border crypto and fiat transactions; this is currently capped at $3,000. Finally, the OCC proposed a regulation that favors an extension of banking services to crypto, which was yet to be forwarded to the Federal Register before Trump’s exit.
Yellen has since vowed that she would collaborate with the mandated financial bodies to advance Fintech regulatory frameworks' work. She particularly vowed to,
“work closely with the Federal Reserve Board and the other federal banking and securities regulators on how to implement an effective regulatory framework for these and other fintech innovations.”