With Joe Biden poised to become President of the United States in January, Bitcoin enthusiasts are also hoping the new White House will have a friendlier tone toward cryptocurrency than Donald Trump did.I think we have opportunity in a Biden administration,” said Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, a trade group representing the cryptocurrency industry.Smith, who appeared as a guest on Fortune’s latest episode of Balancing the Ledger, noted that Trump has previously declared that he’s “not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” and also appointed other crypto skeptics including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
I think what we see with a Biden administration is an opportunity to get some fresh faces into the key regulatory agencies that might be more willing than some of the other regulators that we have today to move forward on policies that would be good for crypto,” Smith added.For example, Biden has tapped Gary Gensler, an ex–Goldman Sachs banker turned financial regulator, to join his transition team focusing on Wall Street oversight plans. The appointment has raised hopes in the crypto world as Gensler currently teaches courses on blockchain technology and digital currencies at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Biden’s pick of Gensler “is a good sign,” Smith explained, “because he is very familiar with crypto and blockchain and hopefully can put the right team of regulators together that will be more willing to work together to advance policies.”The roadblock cryptocurrency advocates and lobbyists have hit to date, she added, is the dearth of knowledge about the technology among lawmakers. Gensler’s familiarity with digital currency networks and constructs such as stablecoins sets him apart from the regulators and members of Congress she’s worked with in the past.
“That is probably the most you can ask for…Just the idea that we now have somebody in there who knows what Ethereum is, is a really good thing,” Smith added.Still, Bitcoin fans shouldn’t get their hopes up that Biden would appoint one of their own to a cabinet position, such as erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who said during his campaign that if elected, “Oh boy are we going to have some fun in terms of the cryptocurrency community.”
After all, the Senate would still have to confirm Yang to the job—something Smith believes is unlikely, particularly as Republicans are still favored to control the Senate when the final races are ultimately settled.