Today, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published a review of interpretive letters issued under the former Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks between 2020 and 2021. The latest letter from the OCC reaffirmed that banking institutions in the country can still engage with cryptocurrency. However, they will have to seek permission from the agency.

OCC still permits banks in crypto

“Today’s letter clarifies that the activities addressed in the previous interpretive letters may be conducted after a bank notifies its supervisory office of its intent to engage in the activities, and after a bank receives written notification of the supervisory office’s non-objection,” the announcement reads. 

This rule basically means that no national bank will be allowed to conduct cryptocurrency-related services, except they are prepared and receive a non-objection from its supervisory office. The new letter aims to ensure safety and that banks, including federal savings associations, can conduct crypto-related activities in a responsible manner. 

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What Can Banks Do?

In the previous OCC interpretative letter, it was mentioned that the national banks could custody cryptocurrencies, operate digital currency nodes, and even hold fiat reserves for stablecoin – digital currencies backed by fiat currencies. 

Meanwhile, the latest interpretative letter from the agency is coming at a time when the US government is preparing to pass a law that will authorize crypto taxation. President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion U.S. infrastructure bill last week, which speculatively will generate more than $2 billion in revenue for the government from crypto taxes. However, people are concerned about the vagueness of the element of the law. 

It required that crypto companies should keep track of users’ trade, leaving out the fact some transactions can be done on decentralized platforms. Thus, this left many wondering whether miners will be asked to identify as crypto companies or “brokerage.”