As a show of continued interest in the development of cryptoasset solutions, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, recently sent a letter to Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks. Chairman Crapo’s letter requested an update on findings of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and information regarding next steps the OCC intends to take with respect to blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

Referencing the OCC’s June 4 advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on digital activities in banking, Senator Crapo inquired of Acting Comptroller Brooks:

  • What activities related to cryptocurrencies or cryptoassets are financial services companies or bank customers engaged in and what are the barriers or obstacles to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry;
  • How is distributed ledger technology used or potentially used in activities related to banking;
  • What new payments technologies and processes should the OCC be aware of and what are the potential implications of these technologies and processes for the banking industry; and
  • What new or innovative tools do financial services companies use to comply with regulations and supervisory expectations (i.e., “regtech”)?

Senator Crapo’s letter then asked Acting Comptroller Brooks to provide the Senate Banking Committee with an update on the OCC’s findings and the next steps the OCC intends to take with this technology.

Finally, Senator Crapo referenced the OCC’s recent guidance clarifying national banks’ and federal savings associations’ authority to provide cryptocurrency custody services.  Senator Crapo urged the OCC to provide similar clarity for payment systems.  The letter closes with the statement that the “U.S. should develop clear rules of the road that protect businesses and consumers without stifling future innovation.”