Now that they’ve been given the green light by a top US regulator, American banks are expressing interest in offering crypto custody services to their customers.
Last month, the Office for the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a letter stating that banks may hold cryptocurrency on behalf of their clients, noting that they must “meet the financial services needs of their customers today… which today for tens of millions of Americans includes cryptocurrency.”
Since then, at least five banks along with other financial organizations have responded to a request for comment, asking for more clarity on which digital asset services they can offer and which rules and regulations they must follow.
PNC Bank, the 7th-largest bank in the US, says the approach from the OCC is a positive step for the banking industry at large.
“This approach is consistent with the OCC’s longstanding ‘transparency doctrine’ under which it will look through the means by which a product is delivered and focus instead on the authority of the national bank to offer the underlying product or service.
Application of the transparency doctrine is a useful tool when considering the permissibility of banks using novel technologies such as distributed ledger technology, crypto assets, and artificial intelligence…We are grateful that the OCC has embraced these principles in its recent determinations.”
Dominic Venturo, chief digital officer from U.S. Bank, is calling on both the OCC and other regulators to present a concrete regulatory framework.
“If the goal is to encourage investment, growth, and exploration of cryptoassets, the OCC, in partnership with other U.S. and global regulatory authorities, should establish clearer definitions and classifications of cryptoassets and address cryptoasset activities.”
The OCC is now led by former Coinbase executive, Brian Brooks, who says he’s looking to prioritize “responsible innovation” to help the industry keep up with the changing ways Americans are managing their money.