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US banking agencies’ future plans to regulate cryptocurrencies

Continuing the trend of increasing oversight of cryptocurrencies, on November 23 the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “Agencies”) issued a joint statement describing their recent “policy sprints” regarding future cryptocurrency regulation.

The Agencies focused on several key areas applicable to banks’ involvement in this asset class, including cryptocurrency custody, facilitating customer purchases, sales and payments in cryptocurrency, loans collateralized by cryptocurrency, and other activities that may result in banks holding cryptocurrency. Throughout 2022, the Agencies will clarify whether it’s legal for banks to conduct these activities, and expectations for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing laws. The Agencies will also, together with Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, reevaluate US banks’ capital and liquidity standards pertaining to cryptocurrency activities.