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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Agencies discuss crypto-asset next steps

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC OCC Federal Reserve Federal Issues Cryptocurrency Fintech Bank Regulatory Consumer Protection Consumer Finance

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On November 23, the FDIC, OCC, and Federal Reserve Board issued a joint statement summarizing a recent series of interagency “policy sprints” focused on crypto-assets. During the policy sprints, the agencies conducted preliminary analysis on issues related to banking organizations’ potential involvement in crypto-asset-related activities, and identified and assessed key risks related to safety and soundness, consumer protection and compliance. The agencies also, among other things, analyzed the applicability of existing regulations and guidance on this space and identified several areas where additional public clarity is needed. Throughout 2022, the agencies intend to provide greater clarity on whether certain crypto-asset-related activities conducted by banking organizations are legally permissible. The agencies also plan to expand upon their safety and soundness expectations related to: (i) crypto-asset safekeeping and traditional custody services; (ii) ancillary custody services; (iii) facilitation of customer purchases and the sale of crypto-assets; (iv) loans collateralized by crypto-assets; (v) issuance and distribution of “stablecoins”; and (vi) activities involving a bank’s holding of crypto-assets on its balance sheet. The joint statement, which does not alter any current regulations, also states that the agencies plan to “evaluate the application of bank capital and liquidity standards to crypto-assets for activities involving U.S. banking organizations” and that the agencies will continue to monitor developments in this space as the market evolves.

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