The Leading Contender to be Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has a Ripple Connection


Former Treasury Department official Michael Barr is expected to replace Brian Brooks as the Comptroller of the Currency, reported the Wall Street Journal. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is an independent bureau of the Treasury Department. However, law professor Mehrsa Baradaran is another leading contender to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the nation’s top banking regulator.

Barr is a former member of Ripple’s advisory board, which he joined in 2015 but is no longer part of. Ripple is currently fighting a legal battle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But the San Francisco-based fintech is hopeful of the Biden administration and expects more regulatory clarity in the US under Biden’s presidency.

Currently, Barr is a dean at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy. Previously, he served in Barack Obama’s administration as the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial institutions, where he worked on bank regulations and helped draft the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

If confirmed, Barr will succeed Brian Brooks, a former Coinbase executive who served as the Acting Comptroller for the second half of 2020.

Brooks took to Twitter this week to bid adieu and wrote that while crypto, DeFi, and stablecoins seem scary to some today, they are necessary for tomorrow as the M1 money supply goes to the moon, some banks start telling you what you can and can’t do with your own money, and if we want the dollar to remain a competitive global medium of exchange.

It was under Brooks that OCC took a crypto-friendly approach and proposed “fair access” to banking services for all, including crypto companies, further urging regulators to “get ready for self-driving banks” – DeFi.

While Brooks finalized the fair access rule before stepping down last Thursday, they weren't registered in the Federal Register, and the White House has issued a memo to freeze any rules not yet published.

While Barr has a crypto connection, crypto-friendly Gary Gensler is the nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission while Janet Yellen, who is not a fan of crypto, is picked for Treasury Secretary.

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