OCC’s Hsu Previews Forthcoming Crypto Announcements

Bank regulators are “approaching crypto activities very carefully and with a high degree of caution,” Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu said today at an industry event, adding that “we expect banks to do the same.” In his remarks, Hsu noted that the banking agencies will soon issue a statement outlining the results of a recent interagency “crypto sprint,” and that the OCC would also provide additional clarity on its recently concluded review of crypto-related interpretive letters.

“The releases should not be interpreted as a green light or a solid red light, but rather as reflective of a disciplined, deliberative, and diligent approach to a novel and risky area,” Hsu said. “We will proceed carefully and cautiously and will hold banks to the same.”

As bank regulators look to modernize the “regulatory perimeter” to include novel crypto firms, Hsu said it will likely require them to “determin[e]what is acceptable in a bank-fintech relationship.” He added that with regard to this modernization effort, close cooperation between agencies—and less “regulatory competition”—will be required.