OCC Gives Banks Green Light to Hold Deposits Backing Stablecoins 

The OCC today provided additional clarity to national banks and federal savings associations regarding the types of activities they may engage in related to cryptocurrencies. In an interpretive letter, the OCC gave institutions under its supervision the greenlight to hold deposits that serve as reserves for “stablecoins”—a type of cryptocurrency that have a stable value, including those backed by fiat currency.

“National banks may receive deposits from stablecoin issuers, including deposits that constitute reserves for a stablecoin associated with hosted wallets,” the OCC said in the letter. “In connection with these activities, a national bank may also engage in any activity incidental to receiving deposits from stablecoin issuers. Likewise, [a federal savings association]is authorized to take deposits, including from an issuer of stablecoin associated with hosted wallets.”

The OCC noted that new activities should be implemented with sound risk management controls and comply with applicable anti-money laundering requirements. The agency noted that stablecoins in particular could expose banks to liquidity risk, and that it “expects all banks to manage liquidity risk with sophistication equal to the risks undertaken and complexity of exposures.”