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11/24/2021

Comptroller of the Currency Backpedals on Rulings Allowing Banks to Handle Crypto

PYMNTS.com

On the surface, it sounds good. Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu confirmed that banks can hold cryptocurrencies for customers, can hold dollar reserves for stablecoin issuers and can use stablecoins to make payments.

In reality, the Nov. 23 interpretive letter was a stark warning for national banks and federal savings associations to tread very cautiously, ordering them to be certain they have adequate controls in place — and to get permission (technically “non-objection”) from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) before engaging with cryptocurrencies.

“Today's letter reaffirms the primacy of safety and soundness,” Hsu said in a release. “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.”

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