New administration and the DoJ’s continued flex in crypto, Oct. 30–Nov. 6

Every Friday, Law Decoded delivers analysis on the week’s critical stories in the realms of policy, regulation and law. 

Editor’s note

Are you over the election? I’m over the election. But you can bet that as soon as I finish writing this week’s Law Decoded, I will compulsively check up on what’s happening in Georgia and Pennsylvania. And it seems that I’m not alone.

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Despite the election highjacking the entire news cycle, crypto has not been completely left in the corner. Likely most notable, Bitcoin is hitting highs it hasn’t seen since January 2018. Given that BTC price typically reacts positively to fears of political instability, that’s not entirely surprising.

More specific to regulators’ interactions with crypto are continued enforcement measures. Taking the lead on this internationally has been the United States Department of Justice. Law Decoded has talked extensively about the DoJ over the past month, and for good reason. They’ve taken huge steps to get out in front of what they perceive as illegal crypto usage ever since releasing a framework for enforcement in virtual currencies at the beginning of October.

While we may be looking at some legal tantrums and recounts, Biden looks to have won the White House. The DoJ is run by the Attorney General — currently Trump appointee Bill Barr. While the regulator is hardly going to back-pedal its new capacities to monitor crypto, Barr has been at the forefront of that fight, as well as other anti-tech measures to ban end-to-end encryption and Section 230. The attitudes of any Biden nominee who will replace Barr will, consequently, be critical.