US banking regulators are looking to clarify crypto rules in 2022

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The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (or FDIC), and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) have issued a joint assertion asserting a plan to clarify the rules and laws round how banks can use cryptocurrencies over the following 12 months (by way of Bloomberg).

The companies say they’re specializing in setting expectations for what banks can do when it comes to holding crypto, permitting prospects to receive crypto, issuing their very own stablecoins (or cryptocurrencies whose worth is tied to a fiat foreign money just like the US greenback), and taking crypto as collateral for loans and holding it on their stability sheets. According to the letter, the purpose is to ensure that customers are protected and that banks act responsibly. The regulators additionally say it’s an try to ensure that the monetary trade isn’t used to launder ill-gotten foreign money, one thing the Treasury Department has been specializing in not too long ago.

The OCC has already made strikes in this path — on Tuesday, the appearing comptroller launched a letter clarifying choices that the workplace had made all through 2020 and early 2021. Now, the letter says, banks may have to ask permission from regional regulators earlier than entering into sure crypto fields.

Previously, the Comptroller stated banks have been allowed to maintain cryptocurrencies for purchasers in addition to belongings getting used to again stablecoins. Banks have been additionally informed they may use stablecoins and act as nodes on blockchain networks. While monetary establishments will nonetheless have the ability to perform these actions, they’ll have to have the ability to show to regulators that they will accomplish that safely and responsibly.

These bulletins come as some crypto corporations have skirmished with regulators over what authorized classifications their merchandise fall underneath. Recently, Coinbase canceled its Lend program after a public feud with the Securities and Exchange Commission over whether or not what it was promoting counted as securities (and would subsequently fall underneath heavier authorized scrutiny). The Treasury has additionally proposed that giant cryptocurrency transfers be reported to the Internal Revenue Service, and has requested Congress to begin regulating stablecoins.

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