On September 7, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, discussed the long-term threats to trust in banking in remarks at the TCH + BPI Annual Conference. Hsu provided updates on key priorities at the OCC, including the impact of “fintechs and big techs” over their digitalization of banking through the advancement of crypto (we discussed Hsu’s previous remarks on crypto here and here). Hsu highlighted the OCC’s position of a “careful and cautious” approach to crypto. In doing so, he referred to Interpretive Letter 1179, which clarifies that national banks and federal savings associations should not engage in certain crypto activities unless they are able to “demonstrate, to the satisfaction of its supervisory office, that [they have] controls in place to conduct the activity in a safe and sound manner” (we discussed Letter 1179 in a previous blog post here). Hsu noted that the federally regulated banking system has been largely unaffected by the collapse of several crypto platforms because, at least in part, of the OCC’s careful and cautious approach.

Continue Reading OCC Highlights Focus on Crypto and Bank-FinTech Partnerships, Anticipates Stricter Scrutiny Going Forward

On July 27, CFPB Director Chopra was interviewed in multiple publications, here and here, about, among other topics, how the CFPB could seek to help mortgage borrowers strained by the Federal Reserve’s battle against inflation and how the agency is looking at cryptocurrency. Below are some of the more important updates from the interviews.

Continue Reading CFPB’s Chopra Has Payments and Crypto In Focus

On July 11, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a letter sent to G20 finance ministers and central bank governors outlining concerns over the rapid growth in crypto-assets and vulnerabilities facing the global financial system. The letter highlighted the following:

Continue Reading FSB Highlights Vulnerabilities Crypto-assets for Global Financial System

Recently, the Louisiana lawmakers and regulators have taken steps to legalize operations in the state involving virtual currencies. On June 15, the Louisiana governor signed a bill that, effective August 1, 2022, will allow financial institutions and trust companies to provide virtual currency custody services to their customers as long as they satisfy certain requirements on risk-management and compliance. On June 20, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions (OFI) published proposed rules on licensing and regulation of virtual currency businesses in the state pursuant to the Louisiana Virtual Currency Business Act, which went into effect on August 1, 2020.

Continue Reading Louisiana Approves Virtual Custody Services and Proposes Virtual Currency Business Licensing Rules

On June 14, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero discussed cryptocurrency regulation, rejecting suggestions that the agency would take a relaxed approach toward regulating cryptocurrency and affirming that the CFTC is positioned to protect consumers if given more authority. Romero said she welcomed efforts to close regulatory gaps through the recent Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA) that was introduced in the Senate earlier this month and another similar bill that will be introduced by Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Bozeman (R-AR) that would designate the CFTC as crypto’s top regulator. When asked about the possibility of regulation slowing the crypto market, Romero responded that “companies can’t scale up the way they need to without a lot of the financial institutions investments,” and that “regulation is needed.”

Continue Reading CFTC: Agency Prepared to Regulate Crypto

On June 8, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released its Guidance on the Issuance of U.S. Dollar-Backed Stablecoins meant to set foundational criteria for USD-backed stablecoins issued by DFS-regulated entities on the issues of redeemability, assets reserves and attestations about such reserves. Here are some of the highlights from the guidance.

Continue Reading New York Releases Stablecoin Guidance

On May 19, Alessio Evangelista, the Associate Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Division of FinCEN, presented at the Chainalaysis Links Conference on the topic of “Intersection of Cryptocurrencies and National Security.”  Evangelista stated that crypto firms “have the same obligations as all other financial institutions to ensure that their new offerings can leverage innovations while still protecting consumers, reducing cybercrime, combating illicit financial activity, and ensuring their platforms are not used to harm our national security.” He also stressed that the agency believes that innovation goes hand in hand with regulation, rather than being at odds with each other. 
Continue Reading FinCEN Highlights Responsible Crypto Innovation, Warns Service Providers

On May 24, the acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu remarked at the DC Blockchain Summit 2022 about his observations on the “deep” vulnerabilities of cryptocurrency in light of the recent market volatility and other events in the crypto economy.  Hsu emphasized three vulnerabilities in particular:
Continue Reading OCC Acting Comptroller: Recent Crypto Events Provide a “Wake-Up Call,” “Opportunity to Reset and Recalibrate”