The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) has asked for feedback in matters crypto and distributed ledgers according to two notices published on June 4. This U.S bank regulator and charter issuer now wants to engage the public in creating a stable digital currency ecosystem based on regulation.
Dubbed ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking‘ and an ‘Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking‘, these initiatives seek to create a conversation with the likes of federal saving associations and banks amongst other stakeholders. Notably, it is the latter notice which focuses on digital currency activity and the supporting tech, distributed ledgers. Bryan Hubbard, the OCC spokesperson, echoed in an email that it is in the regulator's interest to spearhead this discussion,
“The request for stakeholder comment[s] is part of the OCC’s commitment to responsible innovation and aligned with our understanding that banks must be able to evolve to meet the needs of the consumers, businesses, and communities that rely on them.”
This move comes shortly after Brian Brooks took the helm at the OCC in an interim position. The former Coinbase Chief Legal Officer is optimistic that the regulator will learn what form of support banks and the crypto ecosystem need to thrive together. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Brooks said that the OCC will now consolidate quickly on its thoughts about the crypto space:
“The OCC, quickly under my watch, will get a position together as to what… we think about national banks as appropriate custodians for cryptocurrency. We don't have a view on that and I don't want to prejudge that but it is certainly an interest of mine from my past life that we need to come to ground on that.”
OCC's Focus Area in Crypto and DLT's
As highlighted earlier, this regulator presented some questions in the filing as it seeks to understand the space better. Basically, the main questions revolved around crypto activity and how adoption can be accelerated through regulatory support. For digital currencies, the filing reads:
“What types of activities related to cryptocurrencies or crypto-assets are financial services companies or bank customers engaged? To what extent does customer engagement in crypto-related activities impact banks and the banking industry? What are the barriers or obstacles, if any, to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry? Are there specific activities that should be addressed in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”
On distributed ledgers, the filing asks almost similar questions with a focus on their potential to disrupt the current banking ecosystems:
“How is distributed ledger technology used, or potentially used, in banking activities (e.g., identity verification, credit underwriting or monitoring, payments processing, trade finance, and records management)? Are there specific matters on this topic that should be clarified in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”
The OCC has since directed interested stakeholders to share their views via mail, email, fax, hand-deliver, or simply file the feedback online.