The United States Office of Government Ethics has decided to ban crypto investors from working on crypto-related regulations and policies.
According to a new advisory note released by OGE, the government officials who privately own digital assets will no longer be able to work on regulations that could affect the value of cryptocurrencies. The note stated that de minimics exemption — a law that allows owners of securities who invest an amount below a specific threshold in working on policy related to that security — is not applicable for crypto and stablecoins. The phrase “the law does not concern itself with trifles” is the longer Latin origin of the term “de minimis.” The notice adds:
“An employee who holds any amount of a crypto or stablecoin may not participate in a particular matter if the employee knows that particular matter could have a direct and predictable effect on the value of their crypto or stablecoins.”
Moreover, the document gave an example of a situation where an individual is asked to work on stablecoin regulation but only owned a small amount of that stablecoin ($100)—in this case, the employee is prohibited from doing so “until and unless they divest their interests in [that] stablecoin.”
No crypto investor as policymaker
According to the notice, even if the disputed digital asset were to ever “constitute for purposes of the federal or state securities laws,” this judgment would still hold.
All officials of the federal government, including those at the White House, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department, must abide by the new regulation.
In December last year, as TheCoinRise reported, the famous New York lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a similar point. She had said it was “absolutely wild” and inappropriate for U.S. lawmakers to own and trade popular digital assets while also serving on policy-making.
Officials are permitted to hold up to $50,000 in mutual funds that invest broadly in businesses that would profit from cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, which is the only exception to the OGE’s ban on crypto ownership. This exclusion is justified because they “are considered diversified funds.”