US federal bank regulatory agencies have published a roadmap of future work related to crypto-assets, following a series of interagency “policy sprints” that focused on crypto-asset-related activities.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) conducted the crypto-asset policy sprint initiative in recognition that the emerging crypto-asset sector presents “potential opportunities and risks for banking organizations, their customers, and the overall financial system”.
In a joint statement, the agencies said that the “policy sprint”, which is similar to a “tech sprint” model, saw agency staff from various backgrounds and with relevant subject matter expertise conduct preliminary analysis on various crypto-asset issues and activities that banks might engage in.
This included crypto-asset custody and activities involving payments, such as stablecoins.
Having identified several areas where the agencies felt that additional public clarity is warranted, they have developed a crypto-asset roadmap to be rolled out next year.
The agencies said that throughout 2022, they will provide greater clarity on whether certain activities related to crypto-assets conducted by banking organizations are legally permissible.
They will also set out their expectations for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing laws and regulations related to crypto-asset safekeeping and traditional custody services, ancillary custody services, facilitation of customer purchases and sales of crypto-assets, loans collateralized by crypto-assets, the issuance and distribution of stablecoins, as well as activities involving the holding of crypto-assets on balance sheets.
The OCC confirmed that the statement from the agencies “does not alter any existing agency rules or regulations”.
In the joint statement, issued in November, the agencies said they will evaluate the application of bank capital and liquidity standards to crypto-assets for activities involving US banking organizations and will continue to engage with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on its work in this area.
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