North Dakota Lawmakers Propose Making Government-run Bank a Crypto-Custodian


While being one of the only financial institutions of its kind within the United States, the Bank of North Dakota is being considered as a potential crypto-custodian. A group of lawmakers in the state government of North Dakota proposed making this a possibility this week.

These lawmakers introduced the motion within the text of House Bill Number 1267 on January 11th:

“[t]he Bank of North Dakota may provide custodian services for digital currency and may implement a digital currency exchange.”

For the moment, the critical word within this bill number is ‘may', as the bill also requires a feasibility report, which will need to occur before August 2022.

“During the 2021-22 interim the Bank of North Dakota shall study the feasibility and desirability of providing digital currency custodian services and of implementing a digital currency exchange. Before August 1, 2022, the Bank shall report to the legislative management's information technology committee the outcome of the study.”

Since its founding in 1919, the Bank of North Dakota is one of the only government-run banks in America.

Cryptocurrency is Becoming Professional

This proposal's most impactful message is that it demonstrates that state governments are looking into more formal ties with cryptocurrencies. Especially remarkable when considering what political opinions were on digital assets just years ago.

In 2020, the United States of the Comptroller of the Currency released guidance papers on federally chartered banks the power to operate as cryptocurrency custodians. Then-Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks said at the time,

“This opinion clarifies that banks can continue satisfying their customers’ needs for safeguarding their most valuable assets, which today for tens of millions of Americans includes cryptocurrency.”

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