A top US banking regulator says national banks can provide custody and safekeeping services for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).
In a new letter, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) says banks “may offer different methods of providing cryptocurrency custody services, depending on their expertise, risk appetite, and business models”.
The OCC says banks must comply with relevant laws, such as those that involve money laundering, if they want to hold crypto assets on behalf of their customers. It also urges those interested in the business to discuss the matter with regulators before launching the services.
“Because national banks are authorized to perform safekeeping and custody services for physical assets, national banks are likewise permitted to provide those same services via electronic means (i.e., custody of cryptocurrency).”
Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks says banks should be allowed to hold BTC and other cryptocurrencies to meet the financial services needs of their customers.
“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.”