Biden plans for former Fed Chair and noted Bitcoin bear to lead US Treasury

Regulation

As President-Elect Biden continues to round out his roster of appointees, he has tapped an Obama-era chair of the Federal Reserve to lead his administration’s economic policy.

According to a Wall Street Journal exclusive published on Nov. 23, the Biden team plans to nominate Janet Yellen to serve as Treasury Secretary. Obama originally appointed Yellen to the Fed in 2014, where she remained until early 2018. 

In a term that lined up with a massive expansion of public knowledge of cryptocurrencies and ended right after Bitcoin’s dramatic 2017 bull run, Yellen was consistently critical of the space, calling Bitcoin “anything but useful” in October of 2018. 

Times have, however, changed dramatically in just two years. At the end of 2017, Yellen dismissed the notion that the Fed was looking into issuing a digital dollar. Meanwhile, over the course of 2020, the Fed clearly began taking that prospect seriously.

For her part, Yellen seems to have been quiet on crypto since leaving the Fed and going to work for a think tank. Where she stands now remains to be determined.

If approved by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary. She is widely seen as an moderate candidate, though recent public statements suggest she would be much more willing to expand spending than current secretary Steven Mnuchin, who recently drew criticism for ending several emergency lending programs. 

The Treasury has increasingly engaged with crypto over the past year. Bureaus within the Treasury include the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the IRS, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, all of which routinely make headlines for the increasing attention they are paying to the area. 

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