U.S. Confirms Banks Can Provide Custody Services For Crypto Assets

By Tomadachi | Tomadachi | 22 Jul 2020

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today clarified that national banks' and federal savings associations' have the authority to provide cryptocurrency custody services for customers.

The OCC is a federal agency that oversees the laws concerning national banks. The head of the OCC is known as the Comptroller of the Currency and is appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

They are tasked with regulating and supervising national banks and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in America.

In a letter published today, the OCC states "...that providing cryptocurrency custody services, including holding unique cryptographic keys associated with cryptocurrency, is a modern form of traditional bank activities related to custody services. Crypto custody services may extend beyond passively holding "keys.""

Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Brian P. Brooks said, "From safe-deposit boxes to virtual vaults, we must ensure banks can meet the financial services needs of their customers today. 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."

Today's opinion applies to national banks and federal savings associations of all sizes and is consistent with a number of states which have already authorized state banks or trust companies to provide similar functions.

Brian Brooks was previously Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase and last month he went public with a consultation on digital assets.

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