Banks in US Can Now Offer Crypto Custody Services, Regulator Says
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is letting all nationally chartered banks in the U.S. provide custody services for cryptocurrencies. From a report:
In a public letter dated July 22, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Senior Counsel Jonathan Gould wrote that any national bank can hold onto the unique cryptographic keys for a cryptocurrency wallet, clearing the way for national banks to hold digital assets for their clients. The letter marks a major development for the crypto industry. Previously, custody was the province of specialist firms, such as Coinbase, which typically needed a state license, such as a trust charter, to offer the service to large investors. Now, large, regulated financial companies that already provide similar safekeeping services for stock certificates and the like could enter the fray.
The letter, which appears to be addressed to an unidentified bank or similar entity, notes that banks may offer more secure storage services compared to existing options, and that both consumers and investment advisors may wish to use regulated custodians to ensure they don’t lose their private keys, and therefore, access to their funds. “Providing custody for cryptocurrencies would differ in several respects from other custody activities,” the letter said. It pointed to the need for digital wallets, adding that because they exist on a blockchain, there is no physical possession for cryptos. “The OCC recognizes that, as the financial markets become increasingly technological, there will likely be increasing need for banks and other service providers to leverage new technology and innovative ways to provide traditional services on behalf of customers,” the letter said. Banks can provide both fiduciary and non-fiduciary custodian services, the letter said.