Policies

CFTC commissioner appoints senior policy adviser experienced in digital asset regulation

Keaghan Ames worked at Credit Suisse for more than two years as vice president and head of U.S. regulatory policy, which included advising executives on digital assets regulation.

Caroline Pham, currently serving as a commissioner at the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, has announced a former head of U.S. regulatory policy at investment banking firm Credit Suisse Securities will be joining her staff.

In a Friday announcement, Pham said Keaghan Ames will be her counselor and senior policy adviser at the CFTC starting May 23. Ames worked at Credit Suisse for more than two years as vice president and head of U.S. regulatory policy, which included advising executives on digital assets regulation. He will be joining the CFTC from the Institute of International Bankers, where he has been the director of government affairs since July 2021.

Sworn in as a commissioner in April, Pham is one of five heads serving at the CFTC under chair Rostin Behnam — all of whom were appointed by United States President Joe Biden. Pham is the latest commissioner to join the CFTC following the confirmation of Christy Goldsmith Romero, Summer Mersinger and Kristin Johnson.

During Ames’ time at Credit Suisse, the firm’s digital asset arm tested end-to-end fund transactions using blockchain technology, later piloting a settlement system between itself, Paxos and Instinet. In February, the company was the victim of a massive data leak concerning its account holders, reportedly including sanctioned individuals and heads of state.

Related: CFTC commissioner appoints crypto-experienced CME Group director as chief counsel

Together with the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of the Treasury, and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the CFTC handles policy around digital asset regulation and enforcement in the United States. Cointelegraph reported in March that the government agency was seeking a $365 million budget for the next fiscal year based, in part, on the risks around digital asset custodians.

Cointelegraph reached out to Keaghan Ames, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Utah Governor approves of blockchain and digital innovation task force

Some of the primary duties assigned to the task force involve making policy recommendations related to blockchain and related technologies.

After nearly a three-year-long discussion about establishing a task force to oversee blockchain and crypto initiatives, the governor of Utah, Spencer Cox, signed a bill to create the Blockchain and Digital Innovation Task Force.

The Utah State Legislature first saw the introduction of the house bill (H.B. 335) in early February 2022, which took nearly two months to pass through several senates, house and fiscal actions before finally being signed by Governor Cox on March 24.

Some of the primary duties assigned to the task force involve making policy recommendations related to blockchain and related technologies. A part of the bill reads:

“[The task force shall] develop and introduce recommendations regarding policy pertaining to the promotion in the state of the adoption of blockchain, financial technology, and digital innovation.”

According to the bill, the task force in Utah will consist of up to 20 members with diverse expertise in blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and financial technologies. Out of the lot, up to five members will be appointed by the president of the Senate, up to five members by the speaker of the House of Representatives and up to five members by the governor, among others.

In addition, the bill also requires the Utah Division of Finance to provide staff support to the task force. The policy recommendations also entail the development of non-financial incentives for industries in the state related to blockchain, financial technology and digital innovation.

Upon establishment, the task force is required to report annually on or before November 30 to two committees of the Utah State Senate — the Business and Labor Interim Committee and the Legislative Management Committee.

Related: SEC doubles down on crypto regulation by expanding unit

As state and federal regulators explore the least disruptive scope of crypto adoption, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced plans to double the number of personnel responsible for safeguarding investors in cryptocurrency markets.

As Cointelegraph reported, the SEC’s Cyber Unit, which includes the Crypto Assets and Cyber team, will hire 20 new people for 50 dedicated positions including investigative staff attorneys, trial lawyers and fraud analysts.

SEC Chairperson Gary Gensler welcomed the move while highlighting the success of the Cyber Unit in bringing down fraudulent activities in the crypto space, stating:

“By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity.”

US Senate confirms Lael Brainard as Fed vice chair

In a 52–43 vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers confirmed Lael Brainard as vice chair of the Federal Reserve System for four years.

After weeks of delays due,  in part, to partisan obstructionism, the United States Senate has confirmed the nomination of Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, as the next vice chair of the central bank.

In a 52–43 vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers confirmed Brainard a vice chair of the Federal Reserve for four years, potentially beyond her term as a governor ending in January 2026. Brainard was one of four nominees waiting for approval since Republican lawmakers in the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a February committee, which would have sent the prospective Fed vice chair’s nomination to the full Senate.

In addition to Brainard, the Senate will likely soon vote on the nominations of prospective Fed chair Jerome Powell, who has been serving as chair pro tempore since February, as well as economists Philip Jefferson and Lisa Cook as Fed governors. Former Obama administration official and law professor Michael Barr is also awaiting approval from lawmakers following President Joe Biden announcing Barr as his pick for Fed vice chair for supervision in April.

During a January confirmation hearing, Brainard said Congress would ultimately have the power to decide whether to move forward with a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, adding the Fed would welcome the legislative body “taking a very important role” in updating the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and digital assets. She has previously spoken in favor of the United States issuing a CBDC, but has also expressed concerns about “legal and regulatory safeguards” for cryptocurrencies.

The Federal Reserve, in addition to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, oversees many of the regulations covering digital assets in the United States. Many of the Fed vacancies were the result of terms expirations and the resignations of board members. Seven members sit on the board of governors when fully staffed, which has not happened in roughly ten years.

Related: Biden’s Fed picks are likely headed to Senate vote after partisan delay

As with Brainard, Powell, Barr and Jefferson would need more than 50 votes to confirm their nomination with the full Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris was absent from the Senate floor on Tuesday, likely because she tested positive for COVID-19. With Harris unable to act as a tie-breaking vote, her absence has reportedly delayed a vote on Cook’s nomination to sit on the Fed’s board of governors.

President Biden announces former Ripple adviser as pick for Fed vice chair for supervision

The vice chair for supervision seat at the Federal Reserve has been vacant since governor Randal Quarles’ term ended in October 2021.

Following the withdrawal of former Federal Reserve Board governor Sarah Bloom Raskin, United States President Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate former Obama administration official and law professor Michael Barr as the central bank’s vice chair for supervision.

In a Friday announcement, the White House said Barr was Biden’s pick to supervise the Federal Reserve and set the regulatory agenda for its leadership. Barr was on the advisory board of Ripple Labs from 2015 to 2017, served as the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial institutions under former President Barack Obama, and taught courses on financial regulation at the University of Michigan. According to the White House, he was “a key architect” of the Dodd-Frank Act — legislation that continues to influence financial policy in the United States.

“Barr has strong support from across the political spectrum — and has been confirmed by the Senate on a bipartisan basis,” said President Biden. “He understands that this job is not a partisan one, but one that plays a critical role in regulating our nation’s financial institutions to ensure Americans are treated fairly and to protect the stability of our economy.”

According to the U.S. president, he wanted “to move Barr’s nomination forward quickly,” likely given the vice-chair for supervision position has been vacant since Fed governor Randal Quarles’ term ended in October 2021. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said he would support the nomination, citing the need for a “full Fed board.”

“The vicechair of supervision plays a critical role in protecting our financial system and must prioritize strong financial regulation, and identify and stay ahead of risks to our economy,” said Brown. “I will support this key nominee, and I strongly urge my Republican colleagues to abandon their old playbook of personal attacks and demagoguery and put Americans and their pocketbooks first.”

It’s unclear whether partisanship may play a role in moving Barr’s potential nomination through committee and a full Senate vote. Raskin, Biden’s first pick for vice chair for supervision, withdrew her name from consideration in March, citing “relentless attacks by special interests” and referring to Republican lawmakers who “held hostage” her nomination since February. At that time, Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee boycotted a meeting aimed at moving Biden’s picks forward for a vote in the Senate.

Related: Biden’s pick for Fed vice chair for supervision withdraws amid Republican objections

The Senate has yet to confirm Biden’s picks for Fed chair, vice chair, and two governors: Jerome Powell, Lael Brainard, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson, respectively. Powell has been serving as chair pro tempore since Feb. 4 in the absence of a full Senate vote, while Brainard continues to serve as a member of the Fed’s board of governors.

Former US Senator and House member joins Crypto Council for Innovation

Sheila Warren said the addition of Cory Gardner was based on his experience “to build a stronger economy and support innovation,” as well as his commitment to Web3 and crypto.

Cory Gardner, who served as a United States senator for Colorado from 2015 to 2021, has joined the Crypto Council for Innovation, a crypto advocacy group that establishes dialogues with governments and regulatory agencies on the benefits of digital assets.

In a Thursday announcement, the Crypto Council for Innovation, or CCI, said Gardner was one of three new members to join the group’s leadership team. Under CEO Sheila Warren, the former senator will work alongside Amanda Russo, a communicators adviser for the World Economic Forum, and Annie Dizon, a former executive with social impact nonprofit TechSoup. In addition, Katherine Wu, a venture partner at Archetype, will become CCI‘s first research fellow, while former Algorand Foundation CEO Sean Lee joined the group to help build its Asia-Pacific presence.

Gardner, a former U.S. senator and former member of the House of Representatives, will be CCI’s new chief strategist of political affairs. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Warren said the addition of Gardner was based on his experience in Washington “to build a stronger economy and support innovation,” as well as his commitment to Web3 and crypto.

“The combined leadership and global experience of our new team members will fortify CCI’s expertise in a crucial moment, both within our organization and across the crypto industry worldwide,” said Warren. “This expanded team will bolster CCI’s presence on the West Coast, as well as in Washington, D.C., and adds critical presence in APAC, supporting the advancement of our priorities to drive the evolution of the crypto ecosystem and support the global policy community.”

Related: 11 companies form Canadian Web3 Council to advocate for comprehensive crypto strategy

Warren was the head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at the World Economic Forum before joining the Crypto Council for Innovation in February. Formed in April 2021, the CCI includes supporters like Coinbase, Gemini, Fidelity Digital Assets, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Block. The group hosted a virtual event in July 2021 on Bitcoin (BTC) adoption called “The ₿ Word,” featuring speakers including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.

Cointelegraph reached out to Cory Gardner, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Crypto tax rules will reduce US budget deficit by $11B over ten years — White House

The budget from the Biden administration said modernizing tax rules to include digital assets will bring the government $4.9 billion in revenue in 2023.

The United States government’s budget for the 2023 fiscal year included roughly $11 billion in revenue over the next decade from modernizing rules around digital assets.

According to U.S. President Joe Biden’s FY2023 budget, which was released by the White House on Monday, modifying the tax rules on digital assets will reduce the deficit by $10.9 billion from 2023 to 2032. The White House said it will “modernize rules” to include certain taxpayers reporting holdings of digital assets in foreign accounts, amending mark-to-market rules to include digital assets and requiring financial institutions and crypto brokers to report additional information. In addition, it proposed “treating loans of securities as tax-free to include other asset classes and address income inclusion.”

The Biden administration estimated that modernizing tax rules to include digital assets will bring the government $4.9 billion in revenue in 2023. In addition, the budget included $52 million to combat “the misuse of cryptocurrency” by expanding the Department of Justice’s ability to address cyber threats to the United States. The funding will provide the government body with “more agents, enhanced response capabilities and strengthened intelligence collection and analysis capabilities.”

President Biden said his administration was on track to reduce the U.S. deficit by more than $1.3 trillion in 2022. Among the president’s proposals to increase revenue for the government is one requiring a 20% income tax rate from U.S. households worth more than $100 million — roughly 0.01% of households, according to the White House.

The proposed budget followed Biden signing an executive order on March 9 establishing a regulatory framework for digital assets in the United States. The order will require government agencies to explore the potential rollout of a digital dollar as well as coordinate and consolidate policy on a federal framework for crypto.

Related: Regulators and industry leaders react to Biden‘s executive order on crypto

The current administration in the United States has now considered cryptocurrencies in both its budget estimates and a regulatory framework. However, the largest democracy in the world recently voted to establish a framework for digital assets through tax policy. On Friday, lawmakers in India passed a finance bill that included an amendment for a 30% tax on digital assets and nonfungible token transactions. In addition, the framework will not allow for deductions from trading losses while calculating income.

Gemini joins Coinbase and Block at the Crypto Council for Innovation

The crypto exchange declared it spent $120,000 on lobbying activities in the U.S. in the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

The Crypto Council for Innovation, or CCI, has announced that Gemini will be joining its list of crypto-friendly firms aimed at supporting lawmakers on related regulation.

In a Thursday announcement, the CCI said that effective as of this week, Gemini has joined Coinbase, Block, Fidelity Digital Assets, Paradigm and others in an effort to “help accelerate [the group’s] growth and global leadership,” according to CEO Sheila Warren. Gemini head of policy and regulatory affairs Ji Kim said the exchange will work with lawmakers and regulators to help further the adoption of crypto worldwide.

Formed in April 2021 by Coinbase and Square — now Block — the CCI aimed to open a dialogue with governments and regulatory agencies on the benefits of crypto. The group hosted a virtual event in July 2021 on Bitcoin (BTC) adoption called, “The ₿ Word,” featuring speakers including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. Warren, the former head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at the World Economic Forum, assumed the position of CEO at the CCI in February.

In addition to its efforts with the CCI, Coinbase has emerged as one of the biggest spenders in the United States lobbying for crypto-friendly legislation in Congress. The exchange reportedly increased its lobbying expenditures by more than 460% from 2020 to 2021, from $230,000 to roughly $1.3 million, respectively.

Related: Gemini plans to beat Binance through compliance, aims to become the ‘fastest tortoise’ in the race

Before joining the CCI, Gemini did not report any spending on lobbying activities in the U.S. in 2020. However, public records through the U.S. Senate show the exchange declared $120,000 spent in the third and fourth quarters of 2021 contracted with the Sternhell Group. Alex Sternhell, a former senior policy adviser for the Senate Banking Committee, is the principal behind the D.C.-based public relations firm.

WEF’s blockchain head will lead the Crypto Council for Innovation

CCI board member Fred Ehrsam cited the WEF executive’s “in-depth knowledge of crypto” in addition to her experience working with governments across the globe.

Sheila Warren, the head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at the World Economic Forum, will be assuming the position of CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation, or CCI, starting in February.

In a Monday announcement, the CCI said that beginning on Wednesday, Warren would lead the alliance of crypto-friendly firms aimed at supporting lawmakers on crypto and blockchain regulation. CCI board member and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam cited the WEF executive’s “in-depth knowledge of crypto” in addition to her experience working with governments across the globe.

“The crypto ecosystem is poised to deliver large-scale economic growth, empower communities and improve lives all over the world,” said Warren. “I am excited to drive CCI’s mission of realizing the transformative potential of crypto through education and advocacy for a responsible, forward-thinking global policy environment that will ensure that crypto’s benefits are accessible to all people, regardless of their current economic privilege.”

Formed in April 2021, the CCI includes supporters like Coinbase, Fidelity Digital Assets, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Block — formerly Square. In July, the group hosted a virtual event called “The ₿ Word” exploring how institutions could potentially adopt Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology. 

As one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase seems to have stepped up its efforts to lobby lawmakers in the United States around “sensible regulation.” However, Ripple Labs led an expensive campaign around the Securities and Exchange Commission’s treatment of XRP tokens as securities, spending $690,000 on lobbying in 2020 without any concrete results in this area.

Related: 6 Questions for Sheila Warren of the World Economic Forum

During her time at the WEF, Warren explored central bank digital currencies and promoted the adoption of blockchain technology. She has spoken at a number of events in the crypto space including the Hyperledger Global Forum and Unitize conferences and has written for Cointelegraph previously on the importance of crypto as an educational tool for empowering diversity and financial inclusion.

Fossils vs. Renewables, PoW vs. PoS: Key policy issues around crypto mining in the U.S.

A recent meetup on the Capitol Hill highlighted several key debates that will define the mining industry’s development in the years to come.

On Jan. 27, a group of eight U.S. lawmakers, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, sent letters to the world’s six largest Bitcoin mining companies, demanding to reveal the detailed data on their electricity consumption. This isn’t the first time Senator Warren requested this information from a mining operation — last month a similar letter was sent to Greenidge Generation, which uses a natural gas plant to power its facility.

These moves highlight the increasing regulatory pressure on crypto mining businesses in the United States. But, as last week’s Congress hearing showed, the growing scrutiny might turn out to be an opportunity to align the mining sector’s development with the broader political push for clean energy. Here are some of the key themes around crypto mining that have captured the lawmakers’ attention and that will likely inform the intensifying policy conversation.

Total energy consumption

A cornerstone of any environmental critique of Bitcoin and crypto in general, the question of how much energy cryptocurrency mining consumes was expectedly prominent at the hearing. In a 2018 paper published in the prestigious journal Nature, a group of researchers predicted that Bitcoin’s growth could singlehandedly push global emissions above 2 degrees Celsius within less than three decades — not a good look given the international community’s stated mission to prevent the planet’s temperature rise of the exactly same magnitude.

Cambridge University Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index set the tone of comparing the yearly Bitcoin-driven consumption to various nation’s levels — and as for now, with its 131.1 TWh per year the most popular cryptocurrency consumes more energy than Ukraine (124.5 TWh) or Norway (124.3), according to this source. The current estimate of Ethereum’s annualized energy footprint by Digiconimist stands at around 73.19 TWh.

None of the most widely cited estimates is beyond dispute, as the recent fact-check report by Bitcoin Policy Institute (BPI) suggests. It cited three separate articles from the peer-reviewed Nature Climate Change journal, one of them debunking the 2 degrees argument as “fundamentally flawed” and criticizing its methodology.

Crypto proponents prefer to compare Bitcoin energy consumption not to nations, but to other industries — in that case, according to the BPI report, BTC’s 0.27% of global energy consumption is less than that of gold mining, although the Cambridge Index sets the two equal.

Fossils vs renewables

In the context of the ever-growing political pressure on energy consumption, the search for a sustainable energy framework becomes crucial for any industry that wants to flourish in the digital age.

The critics of the crypto mining industry have recently highlighted several instances of mining operations relaunching the existing fossil power plants. The authors of the letter that some 70 NGOs sent to Congress ahead of the crypto mining hearing called the legislators’ attention to several such instances, like the relaunch of coal waste plants in Pennsylvania by Stronghold Digital Mining and the partnership between Marathon Digital and coal-fired plants in Montana.

There is also evidence that these are not the only American companies buying up the old ‘“dirty energy” plants to feed their mining operations — the pattern is observed from Texas to Missouri. At the Congress hearing, it was Steve Wright, a former general manager of Chelan County’s in Washington public utility district, who talked at length about the problem. He explained that miners’ interst in dormant fossil facilities is driven by a simple market mechanism: As renewable energy prices (on the West Coast specifically) grow in line with increasing demand, coal prices drop due to investors’ flight ahead of the upcoming 2025 ban on any coal usage in Washington state.

As Represenatives kept returning to this issue over the course of the hearing, it became clear that the tension between the use of fossil fuels for crypto mining and the industry’s potential shift to renewable energy sources is at the center of policymakers’ thinking on the issue. Witness John Belizaire, CEO of green data centers developer Soluna Computing, argued that there exist scenarios under which crypto mining can shift from a being “dirty” energy concern to a vehicle complementing and empowering the renewable energy sector.

Belizaire’s core argument is that computation-intensive tasks like Bitcoin (BTC) mining can be powered by the recaptured excessive (or, in the industry terms, “curtailed”) energy otherwise wasted by clean power plants. According to him, solar and wind farms waste up to 30% of generated energy due to incompatibilities with the old energy grids. Belizaire also addressed the  problem of energy shortages allegedly driven by crypto miners, highlighting the fact that the kind of computations that miners execute can be stopped at any moment on-demand.

For now, the problem of “dirty mining” is here to stay simply due to the U.S. level of electricity production from renewable sources being below 7.5%. A recent study by DEKIS Research group at the University of Avila ranks the United States as the 25th country in the world in terms of its sustainable mining potential, with Denmark (65% of energy generated from renewables) and Germany (26%) leading the chart.

Nevertheless, America remains a safe zone for mining, while many other nations’ electrical grids are less suited to handle additional load. With a reasonable regulatory framework in place, this could be a massive competitive advantage, laying the groundwork for the U.S. to become a global mining haven. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Belizaire explained that there are certain policy steps that can nudge crypto miners to “go green.” He listed a number of specific measures: “Extended tax credits and special investment tax credits for miners that use green energy and serve as flexible load, along with DOE loan guarantee that is extended to encourage the development of green crypto mining.”

PoW vs. PoS

Any discussion of a possible alliance between crypto mining and green energy tends to bump into a Proof of Work (PoW) versus Proof of Stake (PoS) debate, and the recent hearing was not an exception. It was Cornell professor Ari Juels who repeatedly stated that “Bitcoin does not equal blockchain,” in the sense that the energy-intensive PoW consensus mechanism is not the only way to enjoy the decentralization advantages of crypto.

And, of course, the number one alternative on the table is PoS consensus mechanism that will possibly be adopted by the Ethereum ecosystem and is currently used in a large number of new blockchain projects. It is also central to the development of smart contract-based technologies such as decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Juels’ statements reflect the general pressure that is building up on PoW. Earlier this month, Erik Thedéen, vice chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), proposed an outright ban on PoW mining in the EU and called for transitioning to PoS due to its lower energy profile.

In the U.S., dominating the global Bitcoin mining market with the 35% share, the issue is way more pressing than in Thedeen’s native Sweden, where only about 1.16% of BTC is mined. However, the real problem lies in the Asia-Pacific region, where, according to the The Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study, almost 50% of electricity to Proof-of-Work miners comes from coal.

None of the three experts who spoke with Cointelegraph on the matter see the the juxtaposition of the two consensus protocols as productive. John Warren, CEO of crypto mining firm GEM Mining, noted that there are “slim to none” chances of Bitcoin transitioning to PoS. With that fact in mind, and given Bitcoin’s status as the biggest cryptocurrency, ‘the industry should focus its attention on increased adoption of carbon-neutral energy sources versus trying to alter the Bitcoin verification process.”

John Belizaire rejected the idea that the government should support any of the bulletins over another:

Congress does not have enough knowledge to make a call on the technical architecture of a global platform that powers billions of dollars in assets […] The technology community should be the final arbiter of innovation […] The POW camp will innovate to solve its problems itself.

Mason Jappa, co-founder and CEO of mining company Blockware Solutions, remarked that both Proofs have their comparative advantages, but, in echoing Belzaire’s testimony, underscored the compatibility potential PoW networks possess towards renewable energy. In that sense, Jappa sees PoW mining as a “net positive for society”:

Mining is a perfect complement to the energy grid and is repurposing infrastructure that was otherwise not being utilized, along with providing a use case for building out our energy grid.

What’s next?

As Jappa noted, “It is bullish for the ecosystem that this hearing took place”, as once again the lawmakers expressed their understanding that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

Warren specifically appreciated the part of the discussion that “underscored the ability for the mining industry to innovate more eco-friendly solutions.” We still witnessed plenty of 101 explanations of blockchain technology that reminded of the long way lawmakers should go in terms of their understanding of crypto economy, but, as Warren poined out:

It’s important to acknowledge that there were a number of positive remarks that stemmed from the discussion, showcasing to the nation that mining has created many new jobs and that Bitcoin introduced valuable blockchain technology to the world. That perspective has been largely missing from some of the recent public discourse around crypto mining.

Besides the obvious need for both the general public and legislators to get better educated on the issue, there are some clear focal points around which the digital mining industry could rally, Belizaire believes.

For example, laws or governmental programs that encourage the use of renewable energy over legacy fossil fuels to power the industry, like “Incentives for job-creating in rural parts of the country where mining operations are set up – at both the state and federal level.”

Thus, it appears that the green mining card is the one that can present a straightforward economic and environmental argument in favor of the crypto industry, while the PoW/PoS debate is something that should be reserved for the crypto community rather than regulators.

President Biden taps economists for Fed governors’ seats, Sarah Bloom Raskin as vice chair for supervision

According to the U.S. President, the three nominees have the “experience, judgment and integrity to lead the Federal Reserve and to help build our economy back better for working families.”

The White House has officially tapped former Fed governor Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as the vice chair for supervision for the Federal Reserve, as well as economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to fill two empty seats on its board of governors.

In a Friday announcement, U.S. President Joe Biden said he had nominated Cook, an Obama-era economic adviser and Michigan State University faculty member, as well as Jefferson, a former research economist for the Fed, to the board of governors in addition to Raskin. Jefferson and Cook will take two of the vacant seats in the group of seven governors, with Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard nominated to serve as chair and vice-chair, respectively.

According to the president, the three nominees have the “experience, judgment and integrity to lead the Federal Reserve and to help build our economy back better for working families.” He cited Jefferson’s and Cook’s decades of experience working on economic issues while saying Raskin was “among the most qualified nominees ever” for vice-chair for supervision.

The vice-chair for supervision, as opposed to the vice-chair of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, is a relatively new role within the government agency. Randal Quarles was the first to hold the position for the full four-term year from 2017 to 2021, shortly before resigning as a Fed board member in December. According to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010, the vice-chair for supervision “shall develop policy recommendations for the Board regarding supervision and regulation of depository institution holding companies and other financial firms supervised by the Board and shall oversee the supervision and regulation of such firms.”

Many vacancies at the Federal Reserve, the result of terms expiring and board members resigning, have given President Biden the opportunity to shake up the agency’s leadership. This week, his picks for the Fed chair and vice-chair — Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard, respectively — testified before the Senate Banking Committee in advance of a vote before the full Senate. Should they receive more than 50 votes, Powell, Brainard and Raskin would serve as the Fed board’s leadership until 2026, with Cook and Jefferson serving 14-year terms.

Related: US lawmaker hints at upcoming crypto legislation as Jerome Powell says Fed will release report on digital currency soon

A significant change in leadership of some of the top financial regulators in the United States could have an impact on how the government looks at both crypto and blockchain. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will likely see a shakeup in 2022, with the expected departure of SEC commissioners Elad Roisman this month and Allison Lee in June. In addition, President Biden has not suggested he intends to re-nominate CFTC commissioner Dawn Stump prior to her term expiring in April.