OCC issues guidance on US banks’ stablecoin activities
The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued a letter clarifying banks’ abilities to use stablecoins.
Stablecoins refer to cryptocurrency backed by an asset such as a fiat currency. Issuers in the US have used banks for some time, but without proper regulatory clarity.
The OCC’s letter responds to a series of questions regarding the of stablecoin-related bank activities.
It concludes national banks and federal savings associations may hold “reserves” on behalf of customers. This only applies to coins hosted wallets used by trusted third parties.
Banks must verify stablecoins backed by a single fiat currency on a one-to-one basis.
“National banks and federal savings associations currently engage in stablecoin-related activities involving billions of dollars each day,” says acting comptroller Brian Brooks.
“This opinion provides greater regulatory certainty for banks within the federal banking system to provide those client services in a safe and sound manner.”
Unhosted wallets, controlled by individual users owning the crypto stored within, are not covered by the announcement.
“A bank providing services in support of a stablecoin project must comply with all applicable laws,” the letter states.
“The due diligence process should facilitate an understanding of the risks of cryptocurrency and include a review for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including those related to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering.”