In an effort to support government research and development (R&D) efforts related to digital assets and distributed ledger technology (DLT), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on a “National Digital Assets Research and Agenda” by March 3, 2023.
The digital assets market—and related products and services—has grown at a rapid rate in recent years. Digital assets include (but are not limited to) convertible virtual currency and cryptocurrency, Stablecoins, central bank digital currency (CBDC), and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). A substitute for real currency—cryptocurrency, for example—can be used as payment for goods and services, digitally traded between users, and exchanged for or into real currencies or digital assets.
While digital assets could help facilitate faster payments and make financial services more accessible, the government recognizes that more work is necessary to ensure that digital assets benefit underserved consumers and do not lead to predatory financial practices. The White House reported that unique and varied features of digital assets can pose significant financial risks to consumers, investors, and businesses if suitable protections are not in place: “In the absence of sufficient oversight and standards, firms providing digital asset services may provide inadequate protections for sensitive financial data, custodial and other arrangements relating to customer assets and funds, or disclosures of risks associated with investment.”
President Biden’s March 2022 Executive Order (EO), Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets, outlined the first whole-of-government approach to addressing such risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology (DLT). As an outcome, in September 2022, the White House released the first-ever comprehensive framework for responsible development of digital assets.
To further support these measures, input for the RFI will inform a R&D living agenda to be developed by the Fast Track Action Committee (FTAC) on Digital Assets Research and Development of the Subcommittee on Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD), of the National Science and Technology Council, the National Science Foundation, and the NITRD National Coordination Office.
OSTP seeks information on specific R&D opportunities focusing on six priority sections:
Access additional details and submission requirements via the RFI published in the January 26, 2023, Federal Register.