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President Biden taps economists for Fed governors’ seats, Sarah Bloom Raskin as vice chair for supervision

The White House has officially tapped former Fed governor Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as the vice chair for supervision for the Federal Reserve, as well as economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to fill two empty seats on its board of governors.In a Friday announcement, U.S. President Joe Biden said he had nominated Cook, an Obama-era economic adviser and Michigan State University faculty member, as well as Jefferson, a former research economist for the Fed, to the board of governors in addition to Raskin. Jefferson and Cook will take two of the vacant seats in the group of seven governors, with Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard nominated to serve as chair and vice-chair, respectively.According to the president, the three nominees have the “experience, judgment and integrity to lead the Federal Reserve and to help build our economy back better for working families.” He cited Jefferson’s and Cook’s decades of experience working on economic issues while saying Raskin was “among the most qualified nominees ever” for vice-chair for supervision. The vice-chair for supervision, as opposed to the vice-chair of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, is a relatively new role within the government agency. Randal Quarles was the first to hold the position for the full four-term year from 2017 to 2021, shortly before resigning as a Fed board member in December. According to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010, the vice-chair for supervision “shall develop policy recommendations for the Board regarding supervision and regulation of depository institution holding companies and other financial firms supervised by the Board and shall oversee the supervision and regulation of such firms.”Many vacancies at the Federal Reserve, the result of terms expiring and board members resigning, have given President Biden the opportunity to shake up the agency’s leadership. This week, his picks for the Fed chair and vice-chair — Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard, respectively — testified before the Senate Banking Committee in advance of a vote before the full Senate. Should they receive more than 50 votes, Powell, Brainard and Raskin would serve as the Fed board’s leadership until 2026, with Cook and Jefferson serving 14-year terms.Related: US lawmaker hints at upcoming crypto legislation as Jerome Powell says Fed will release report on digital currency soonA significant change in leadership of some of the top financial regulators in the United States could have an impact on how the government looks at both crypto and blockchain. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will likely see a shakeup in 2022, with the expected departure of SEC commissioners Elad Roisman this month and Allison Lee in June. In addition, President Biden has not suggested he intends to re-nominate CFTC commissioner Dawn Stump prior to her term expiring in April.

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ConstitutionDAO, a ‘crypto red alert’ and other cases of crypto-powered social action in 2021

From the very beginning of the cryptocurrency movement, the societal potential of Bitcoin (BTC) has been one of the fundamental selling points. The decentralized design of crypto-based systems introduces the possibility of bringing individuals together to work toward shared goals, as well as enabling them to pool resources while remaining insulated from outside control. 2021 saw a number of cases that could serve as evidence of this emancipatory power of digital assets.ConstitutionDAO: $49 million raised in a few daysArguably, the most high-profile case of a massive fundraising effort enabled by a decentralized autonomous organization in 2021 was ConstitutionDAO. The group was formed in November with the sole objective of purchasing an original copy of the United States Constitution, which was on auction at Sotheby’s.The DAO got very close to its goal. The artifact was sold for a bid of $43.2 million, and while the DAO managed to raise about $47 million in Ether (ETH), its bid was ultimately limited by Sotheby’s to $43 million to factor in taxes and the costs required to protect, insure and move the Constitution. Following the auction, the DAO offered full refunds to anyone who donated. Those who did not take refunds kept the PEOPLE governance tokens they had received in exchange for their contribution.As a statement from ConstitutionDAO said, “While this wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, we still made history tonight.” It is hard to argue with this, as it took only a week to pool the money from 17,437 backers. BlockbusterDAO: Empowering decentralized streamingIn December 2021, the founders of BlockbusterDAO announced that they had formed a new decentralized autonomous organization with the goal of buying Blockbuster — an American brand that originally operated as a video rental company. At its peak, Blockbuster had 6,000 stores globally and was valued at over $8 billion. It shuttered almost all of its operations in 2014 and currently operates just one store in Oregon. Strictly speaking, this initiative is not expected to fully materialize until 2022.The DAO explained in a tweet that it plans to rally a grassroots effort to buy Blockbuster by raising at least $5 million through a nonfungible token (NFT) minting event, with each NFT valued at 0.13 ETH. BlockbusterDAO plans on turning Blockbuster into a decentralized film streaming studio. There are currently more than 20,000 netizens engaged with the project on Twitter and Discord.Fortune Journalism PleasrFund: Supporting journalistic integrityIn September 2021, American business magazine Fortune, alongside NFT artist Pplpleasr, launched a decentralized donations fund, with the proceeds earmarked for independent journalists and programs that foster journalistic integrity.The Fortune Journalism PleasrFund was launched on the Ethereum blockchain through Endaoment, a charity-focused DAO. It has allocated 214.55 ETH, worth roughly $680,000 at the time of writing, which represents half of the proceeds of the sale of a limited-edition Pplpleasr NFT that had been commissioned by Fortune.The four initial beneficiaries of the fund are Report for America/The GroundTruth Project, the Institute for Nonprofit News, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders. Each organization received an initial distribution of approximately $165,000 from Fortune and Pplpleasr. The Battle of the Infrastructure BillSometimes, the battle lost makes the history of the war won. Hopefully, that is how we will remember the fierce resistance that the crypto community mounted against the last-minute crypto-related additions to the sweeping $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.Interestingly enough, the new tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency brokers were part and parcel of the bipartisan agreement that made the ambitious federal spending project possible — with some estimates suggesting that this new taxation base would help the Internal Revenue Service increase federal revenue by about $28 billion over 10 years.In response, Fight for the Future, a tech advocacy group, launched a counter-initiative urging U.S. voters to call their representatives to object to the crypto provisions of the bill, something that it labeled as a “crypto red alert.” Senate offices were flooded with phone calls, and the list of influencers who vocally opposed the proposed measures included the likes of Jack Dorsey, who heads up Twitter and Block (formally Square), and Brian Brooks, the former acting comptroller of the currency who is now at Bitfury.The pushback led to a days-long stalemate in the legislature. And despite the fact that the infrastructure bill ended up being passed and signed without any changes to its cryptocurrency-related language, the tumult that the crypto community was able to spark demonstrates its growing lobbying power.As Mick Mulvaney, who served as chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, put it:What I think you’re seeing is the maturing of the industry — you see the crypto folks now understanding how Washington can influence their world and Washington learning a little bit about the technology.What’s next?Of course, the aforementioned examples hardly exhaust all of the crypto-driven social and political initiatives that we saw in 2021. For one, there were numerous examples of philanthropy, such as NFT project Trippy Bunny donating all of the proceeds of its mint sales to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Cancer Society’s Crypto Cancer Fund launching in January 2021. These examples represent an additional domain where crypto can make a difference.In 2021, it became apparent that the potential of decentralized autonomous organizations and crypto-driven political action is truly massive. But we are just getting started, and there are many reasons to believe that this trend will only get stronger in 2022.

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