US Treasury Launches Consumer Education Effort on Digital Assets as Crypto Goes Mainstream

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Without actually mentioning the words “cryptocurrency,” “blockchain” or “NFT,” the Treasury Department announced that the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) would form a new subgroup on digital asset financial education “to develop consumer-friendly, trustworthy and consistent educational materials, tools and outreach to help consumers make informed choices about digital assets,” according to a March 8 statement.

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“History has shown that, without adequate safeguards, forms of private money have the potential to pose risks to consumers and the financial system,” U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang said in the statement. “The Treasury Department will continue to emphasize consumer and investor protection and education as we work to promote responsible innovation in the digital assets space. We’re grateful for the FLEC member agencies who have already started collaborating on this topic and look forward to engaging with them throughout this process.”

The Treasury said that financial education on digital assets will empower Americans to take actions that contribute to their financial well-being and resilience in the short term and over the years to come.

Populations that have limited access to mainstream financial services is a key group the Treasury will look to reach, Liang told Reuters.

“We’re hearing more and more about investors and households who are purchasing crypto assets, and we recognize the complexity of how some of these assets operate,” Liang said, according to Reuters. “It felt like this is an area also where more education (and) more awareness could be helpful.”

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Liang added that while crypto does present risks, the Treasury is also conscious it could offer benefits, such as improving cross-border payments or bolstering financial inclusion, Reuters reported.

“We’re just trying to raise awareness without trying to stamp out new technology and new innovation,” she said.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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