The United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE) outlined that cryptocurrencies and stablecoins do not qualify as “publicly traded securities” according to the agency’s regulations. As such, it banned individuals who privately own digital assets from participating in Federal policies that could affect the valuation of such tokens.
The OGE’s Recommendation
In its latest legal advisory, the OGE explained that government employees who own securities could apply for the “de minimis” exemption and resume their duties if they do not surpass a certain threshold. However, since the agency does not classify cryptocurrencies as “publicly traded securities,” workers will not be allowed to take part in Federal regulations and policies if they are HODLers:
“As a result, an employee who holds any amount of a cryptocurrency 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 cryptocurrency or stablecoins.”
It is worth noting that the legislation applies to all government officials, including those working at the White House, the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve.
On the other hand, employees may participate in specific governmental affairs in which they have a “disqualifying financial interest” from holdings in a mutual crypto fund operating under the necessary supervision. In addition, workers may get involved if they are the actual owners of the funds.
The OGE explained that mutual funds focused on cryptocurrencies and stablecoins should fit the bill for “sector funds.”
“Mutual funds with a stated purpose of investing broadly in companies that would benefit from or use blockchain technology, on the other hand, are considered diversified funds,” the agency stated.
The OGE said that sometimes identifying the nature of particular mutual funds is not an easy task. In such cases, the agency vowed to thoroughly observe the entities and “look beyond the fund name to the prospectus” to analyze their functions.
Government Officials Who Own Crypto
The digital asset universe has emerged as an intriguing niche for numerous US politicians and officials. Such example is Senator Cynthia Lummis, who is a long-time bitcoin holder. She entered the ecosystem in 2013 when the asset’s price was around $300, while last summer, she topped up her stash with up to $100,000 worth of the asset.
Other politicians part of that club are Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Congressman Mark Green, and Congressman Michael McCaul.