Crypto Companies Lobby U.S. Regulator for Greater Banking Autonomy

In response to comments requested by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on possible regulations, many of the major players in the crypto space wrote asking the regulator to extend the authorizations it gives to banks to handle cryptomoney and use blockchain technology.

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Transfers backed by blockchain and new stablecoins as competitors of the dollar
One of the leaders in blockchain-based financial services, Silvergate Bank, wrote to the OCC to promote this technology as a more efficient way for banks to send money to each other and to their customers‘ accounts. Silvergate pointed to USD-backed blockchain platforms such as USDC or USDT as examples of how fast this system could be:

„Blockchain technology offers a recognized use case as a value transfer network, and while many continue to explore how to expand that use case, as demonstrated by several USD-backed stablecoins projects, they are doing so within existing regulatory frameworks that do not provide adequate guidance to regulated entities such as financial institutions.

The lobby group, Blockchain Association, also applauded the example of stablecoin projects, emphasizing that OCC „allows banks to settle payments and accept deposits in stablecoins that meet OCC’s defined criteria.

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The Coin Center, a think tank and lobby group promoting the decentralized network, went one step further in its response to the OCC, advocating that banks support controversial privacy technologies such as

„(1) mixed trustless transaction technologies such as CoinJoin for Bitcoin transactions, and (2) privacy-enhanced cryptosystems such as Zcash and Monero.“

The OCC and the new vision of banks

As noted by the Blockchain Association, even well-intentioned and compliant crypto companies operating in the United States have been unfairly excluded from basic financial services. That ends up hurting users:

„Lack of access by crypto businesses to safe and sound financial services ultimately creates unnecessary risks for U.S. consumers.

In the OCC’s application, the office emphasized the flexibility of banking, saying „the federal banking system is well known and well positioned for change, which has been a hallmark of this system since its inception.

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The OCC is the U.S. Treasury office responsible for regulating the nation’s federal banks. Since Brian Brooks took over as the office’s director, interest in cryptomoney has accelerated dramatically. Two weeks ago, the agency finally authorized banks to hold crypto assets. Since then, Brooks continues to express interest in blockchain technology as a way to modernize payments in the country.