Biden expected to regulate cryptocurrency trades
President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on cryptocurrency this week that will mark the first step toward regulating how digital currency is traded.
The move comes as administration officials have raised concerns in recent weeks about Russia’s use of cryptocurrency to evade the impact of crushing sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions have sent the ruble to historic lows and have closed the country’s stock market.
The order is expected to describe what government agencies, including the Treasury Department, need to do to develop policies and regulations on digital currencies. It is expected to include a request for the State Department to ensure that American cryptocurrency laws are aligned with those of U.S. allies and will ask the Financial Stability Oversight Council — which monitors the stability of the U.S. financial system — to study illicit finance concerns.
Additionally, the order will explore the possibility of a new central bank digital currency. The Federal Reserve issued a paper on the topic in January that explores the risks and benefits of U.S.-backed digital currency.
Implicit in the order will be that cryptocurrency will remain a part of the U.S. economy for years to come.
China’s trade increases before Russian invasion
China’s exports rose by double digits in January and February before Russia’s attack on Ukraine roiled the global economy.
Customs data show exports grew by 16.3% over a year earlier in a sign global demand was recovering before President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion. Imports advanced 15.5% despite a Chinese economic slowdown that the war threatens to worsen.
Forecasters say China and other Asian oil importers will be hurt by surging prices caused by Putin’s war. China’s No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang, warned Saturday global conditions are “volatile, grave and uncertain” and achieving Beijing’s economic goals will require “arduous efforts.”
Russian banks may sub China UnionPay for VISA
Leading Russian banks are looking into using a Chinese payment rival after Visa and Mastercard suspended operations over the invasion of Ukraine.
All the big global accounting firms also said they would pull out of Russia in the latest corporate fallout. Sberbank and Tinkoff Bank say they’re considering the possibility of payment cards powered by China’s UnionPay system. They told users that Visa and Mastercard will work within Russia but will stop working for payments outside the country after Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ernst & Young and Deloitte cut ties with their operations in Russia on Monday, a day after KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers did so.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner