The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is developing a National Digital Assets Research and Development Agenda to study technologies that support cryptocurrencies and said this week it’s looking for comments to identify agenda priorities.


As part of the research and development agenda, the Biden-Harris administration is looking to identify “priorities for digital assets and help direct Federal resources and expertise toward advancing those priorities,” according to OSTP’s request for information (RFI).


The RFI seeks insight into priorities for research and development related to digital assets, including various underlying technologies such as blockchain, distributed ledgers, decentralized finance, and smart contracts. 

Responses to the RFI are due by 5 p.m. on March 3.

In addition, the RFI asks for insight into cybersecurity and privacy, programmability, and sustainability as they relate to digital assets. 


Digital assets have enabled new ways to move value through the online world, and their underlying technology has facilitated change across industries. Applications of digital assets benefit from advances in foundational and translational research.


However, that research and development is often fragmented, with minimal consideration for the broader implications, applications, and risks for the underlying innovations, OSTP said in the RFI. 


“This is particularly concerning because there are many examples of how digital assets introduce risks and exacerbate harm to people, communities, institutions, and the planet,” the RFI explains. 


The White House believes that a more comprehensive R&D approach would provide concrete areas of focus toward achieving a holistic vision of a digital assets ecosystem that embodies democratic values and other priorities. 


“This approach would help ensure that sometimes-overlooked topics like environmentally-friendly consensus mechanisms and fraud-resistant transaction programmability receive appropriate levels of [research and development] support. This approach would also help ensure that advances in digital assets can support technological progress in overlapping and adjacent domains, including the traditional financial services industry,” the RFI states.


OSTP will work with the Fast Track Action Committee 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.


All input received via this RFI will be incorporated into the research and development agenda, which will be a regularly-updated living document.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.