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The famously unregulated currency is allegedly about to be very regulated.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

January 27, 2022

2 Min Read
A photograph of the White House
Image by David Everett Strickler via Unsplash

Financial and investment news site Barron's is reporting that the Biden administration will soon be revealing an executive order directing United States federal agencies to begin plans for the comprehensive regulation of cryptocurrency and digital assets.

Such regulation would come shortly on the heels of video game companies from Atari to Zynga announcing their various intents to cash in on the blockchain technology craze.

The focus of the White House's vision for regulating blockchain technology remains on "national security," though if the post-9/11 era has taught us anything, it's that that phrase can cover a wide swath of topics. The order would apparently unite the State Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, and Council of Economic advisors. 

It would also involve the White House National Security Council. Agencies will apparently be given three to six months to prepare proposals for regulation.

"This is designed to look holistically at digital assets and develop a set of policies that give coherency to what the government is trying to do in this space," an anonymous source explained to Barrons. The source also said that the White House is looking to synchronize with other countries on regulatory best practices, because digital assets "don't stay in one country."

Game companies have proposed different strategies for the use of blockchain technology, ranging from selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to "play-to-earn" schemes that would enable players to cash out in-game digital assets for real money.

Said companies have downplayed both the concerns over the carbon emissions affiliated with different kinds of blockchain technology (often generated using "proof of work" algorithms to add new coins or tokens to the blockchain), and the many, many ethical and security risks of building systems structured on this technology. 

(If you've got two hours to spare, YouTuber Dan Olson shared how these risks go beyond the environmental concerns.)

A national security focus would likely leave video game developers at the periphery of the White House's interest, though that may change if the "play-to-earn" model grows in the way its proponents hope it does. 

A report from our sibling organization Game Developers Conference recently indicated that as many as 70 percent of game developers "are not interested" in blockchain technology, though 25 percent said their companies were at least "partly interested" in using it for their next games. 

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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