Top US regulators say crypto poses financial stability risks
FILE - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks after touring the IRS New Carrolton Federal Building, Sept. 15, 2022, in Lanham, Md. Yellen made her reputation as a Federal Reserve chair who helped steer the U.S. into the longest expansion in its history; now, she’s trying to use global energy markets as a vise to stop a war and keep oil prices from rushing upward this winter. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top regulators on Monday recommended a series of new safeguards to ensure that a growing and unregulated cryptocurrency market doesn't imperil US financial stability.

Among seven major recommendations, regulators called on Congress to pass legislation that would address the systemic risks caused by the growth of stablecoins, which are a form of cryptocurrency pegged to the price of another financial asset, like the US dollar or gold.

Recent volatility in the cryptocurrency market, especially in stablecoins, has made regulators particularly wary about the need for regulation as usage of the digital asset continues to grow.

Members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council met Monday to approve the recommendations of a 125-page report created in response to President Joe Biden's March executive order on digital assets. The report also calls for giving agencies greater regulatory power over cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

The oversight council is an interagency group headed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and includes Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the role of the council is to identify risks and emerging threats to US financial stability.

Powell, who has recently said stablecoins will need greater regulation as they become more widely used by consumers, said Monday that "acting now will allow us to support responsible financial innovation while preserving financial stability."

Yellen said, "As we've painfully learned from history, innovation without adequate regulation can result in significant disruptions and harm to the financial system."

At the start of the year, the council stated it would focus its efforts on researching and developing recommendations on digital asset issues, as more Americans invest in cryptocurrencies.

Roughly 16 per cent of adult Americans, or 40 million people, have invested in cryptocurrencies, according to a September 2021 Pew Research Center poll. And 43 per cent of men age 18-29 have put money into cryptocurrency.

Last month, the Treasury Department issued a report that recommended the US work on developing a digital dollar.

Yellen said Treasury recommends that the US "advance policy and technical work on a potential central bank digital currency, or CBDC, so that the United States is prepared if CBDC is determined to be in the national interest."

More than 100 central banks around the world are considering a digital currency, but just a few have actually issued one.

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