U.S. Treasury Secretary Nominee Janet Yellen Says Blockchain is an Important Technology

December 04, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden's candidate for U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, has had generally favorable views of blockchain technology. Her views about Bitcoin haven't been as enthusiastic, at least according to statements made when she was chair of the Federal Reserve.

According to a recent compilation of her public statements as chair, from 2014 to 2018, Yellen viewed blockchain as an important technology that could have significant implications in the finance world.

“[Blockchain] could have very significant implications for the payments system and the conduct of business,” said Yellen in September of 2016. “[Blockchain] is a very important, new technology that could have implications for the way in which transactions are handled throughout the financial system,” she said in January of 2017.

Yellen has been generally more skeptical about the long-term viability of Bitcoin. As recently as October of 2018 she expressed concern.

“I will just say outright I am not a fan [of Bitcoin], and let me tell you why," said Yellen. "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.”

In 2017 Yellen remarked that Bitcoin is not a stable store of value and doesn't constitute legal tender. She added that it is a highly speculative asset. Yellen also made remarks about the Federal Reserve not having the authority to supervise or regulate Bitcoin in any way.

It's unclear whether regulating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies would be a priority for Yellen if she is confirmed as Treasury Secretary by the U.S. Senate. Given her generally favorable views about blockchain technology, her confirmation could signal a period of growth and more widespread adoption of blockchain, distributed ledgers and related applications.

To find out more about how blockchain is making inroads in the global financial sector as well as in other important markets, TMC is hosting The Blockchain Event on June 22-25, 2021, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The event will feature panel discussions, keynotes and case studies about the role of blockchain in a variety of industries and vertical markets.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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