Janet Yellen has come under fire for her position toward cryptocurrencies, given that she is in charge of the United States’ first large effort to regulate the digital assets that have rapidly become a trillion-dollar business. Bitcoin is simply one of many cryptocurrencies in circulation, yet it has demonstrated increased reach and volatility during Yellen’s brief tenure at Treasury. The price of bitcoin rose above $60,000 for the first time in April before plummeting below $35,000 in May — before rising back up to around $50,000 this week.
Yellen Sees the Benefits of Crypto
In an interview with CNBC this week, Janet Yellen, the secretary of the United States Treasury, addressed cryptocurrency. Russia has announced that it is considering bitcoin payments for energy supplies, and given that fact, was asked about cryptocurrencies.
“Crypto has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last year, and it’s now influencing a significant number of Americans’ investment decisions.”
She went on to explain that the White House’s executive order gave the treasury department and other federal agencies charge with “thinking about crypto regulation.”
“I have some trepidation about it because I think there are legitimate concerns about it. Some of them center on consumer-investor protection, financial stability and the use for illicit transactions.” She continued:
“On the other side, there are advantages to crypto, and we recognize that the progress in payment systems is a good thing.”
“We’d want to make a regulatory environment for healthy innovation eventually,” she added.
Last month, Yellen said the Treasury will be keeping an eye on cryptocurrency to see whether it is being used by Russian individuals and businesses to avoid sanctions. “We’ll continue to look at how the sanctions work and if there are leaks, and we have the chance to fix them,” she said.
The Treasury, on the other hand, has expressed no such concerns. However, a high-ranking department official later confirmed that the treasury does not think crypto could be utilized in a broad manner to evade sanctions.