OCC: Bank can offer crypto services only after regulator non-objection

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this week again confirmed that national banks and federal savings associations can offer crypto services, so long as they notify regulators first and receive written non-objection. 

The OCC also confirmed that national banks and federal savings associations must show that they have adequate controls in place before engaging in certain cryptocurrency, distributed ledger and stablecoin activities. 

“Providing this clarity will help ensure that these cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, and stablecoin activities will be conducted by national banks and federal savings associations in a safe and sound manner,” said OCC Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu. “Because many of these technologies and products present novel risks, banks must be able to demonstrate that they have appropriate risk management systems and controls in place to conduct them safely. This will provide assurance that crypto-asset activities taking place inside of the federal regulatory perimeter are being conducted responsibly.”

  The announcement came the same day that all three federal bank regulators previewed further crypto-related policies to come in 2022. 

The crypto market has emerged in recent years. In 2021, the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies reached a record $2 trillion, and there are almost 10,000 different cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, Oklahoma community financial institution Vast Bank became the first nationally-chartered, FDIC-insured bank to allow customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies through a user interface.