In a new legal notice, the US Office of Government Ethics says that any employee who owns cryptocurrency can’t work on Federal rules about crypto.
Cryptocurrency owners working with the US government are now barred from working on rules and policies that could affect the value of cryptocurrency.
According to a new advisory notice issued on Tuesday by the US Office of Government Ethics (OGE), the de minimis exemption — which allows owners of securities who hold an amount less than a certain threshold to work on policy related to that security — is universally inapplicable when it comes to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
The notice presented an example situation in which an employee who owns only $100 of a particular stablecoin is asked to work on stablecoin regulation – the employee in question cannot engage in regulatory work “until and until they divest their interests in [that] stablecoin.”
This order remains in effect even if the cryptocurrency or stablecoin in question eventually “constitutes [a security] for purposes of federal or state securities laws,” according to the notification.
The new rule applies to all federal government employees, including those at the White House, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department.
The term “de minimis” is derived from a longer Latin phrase that means “the law is not concerned with trifles.”
The lone exception to the OGE’s crypto ownership restrictions is that policymakers are permitted to hold up to $50,000 in mutual funds that invest broadly in companies that would benefit from crypto and blockchain technologies. This exemption is granted because they “are considered diverse funds.”
Despite the apparent strict rules regarding employee participation in the crypto sector, the United States continues to integrate the cryptocurrency industry, with US President Joe Biden announcing a “whole-of-government” approach to digital asset regulation.
According to Raymond Shu, co-founder, and CEO of Capital, recent legislative measures might make the United States one of the only Western countries to completely regulate and accept stablecoins and other digital currencies as legitimate financial assets.