- US banks will be armed with greater regulatory clarity on how they can engage with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
- The Fed, FDIC, and OCC plan to publish guidelines for financial institutions seeking to offer services in the asset class.
- The team of regulators has analyzed custody, bitcoin collateralized loans, payments, buying and selling, and holding BTC on banks’ balance sheets.
A team of U.S. agencies plans to clarify how banking institutions could engage with bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the next year, according to a joint statement published on November 23.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Fed), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said they recognize the potential opportunities Bitcoin could provide to banks, their customers, and the financial system. However, they aim to provide clarity to promote “customer protection” and “compliance with applicable laws and regulations.”
“To that end, the agencies recently conducted a series of interagency ‘policy sprints’ focused on crypto-assets,” per the statement. “Similar to a ‘tech sprint’ model, agency staff with various backgrounds and relevant subject matter expertise conducted preliminary analysis on various issues regarding crypto-assets.”
The three regulators analyzed Bitcoin activities that banks might be interested in engaging, including custody, bitcoin collateralized loans, payments, facilitation of customer purchases and sales, and holding bitcoin on banks’ balance sheets.
The group hasn’t provided the regulatory clarity needed yet. Throughout 2022, the Fed, FDIC, and OCC plan to jointly share detailed guidance for banks interested in offering the cryptocurrency services analyzed.
In October, the FDIC chairman hinted at this development, saying that a team of regulators was working on a more precise set of rules for banks interested in engaging with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. “I think that we need to allow banks in this space, while appropriately managing and mitigating risk,” Jelena McWilliams said. The three agencies started working together on a “sprint” on cryptocurrency regulation in May.