Former Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen is likely to become the next U.S. Treasury Secretary.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Yellen in the coming days, positioning the longtime economist to succeed current Secretary Steven Mnuchin. While Yellen hasnt said a lot about bitcoin, she is clearly familiar with the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and spoke about both while she was still in office.
- October 2015: We do not interpret bitcoins popularity as having a relationship with the publics view of the Federal Reserves conduct of monetary policy.
- December 2017: It is not a stable store of value and it doesnt constitute legal tender. It is a highly speculative asset.
- October 2018: I will just say outright I am not a fan, and let me tell you why. I know there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies and maybe something is coming down the line that is more appealing but I think first of all, very few transactions [that] are actually handled by bitcoin, and many of those do take place on bitcoin are illegal, illicit transactions.
- February 2014: The Fed doesnt have authority to supervise or regulate bitcoin in any way.
- October 2015: Yellen said the U.S.s financial regulators should not stifle innovation.
- December 2017: ... the Fed doesnt really play any role, any regulatory role with respect to bitcoin other than assuring that banking organizations that we do supervise are attentive that theyre appropriately managing any interactions they have with participants in that market, and appropriately monitoring anti-money laundering [and] Bank Secrecy Act responsibilities that they have.
- September 2016: "[Blockchain] could have very significant implications for the payments system and the conduct of business."
- January 2017: "[Blockchain] is a very important, new technology that could have implications for the way in which transactions are handled throughout the financial system."
Its unclear how Yellen might approach crypto regulations, or if theyll even be a priority. However, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Reserve, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) all either work closely with the Treasury Department or are bureaus within the department.
Razvan Suprovici, founder of crypto gifting service Biterica, gifted $20 in bitcoin to Yellen after her 2018 remarks, though at the time she said she hadnt looked into the gift. If she kept the funds, they would be worth about $60 at press time.
And of course, there was that time someone flashed a buy bitcoin note behind Yellen while she was testifying in 2017.