On June 10, 2021, the Texas Department of Banking issued an industry notice addressing the authority of Texas state-chartered banks to provide virtual currency services to customers. This is a notable development as Texas has the most state-chartered banks of any state in the country.
Continue Reading Texas Department of Banking Clarifies Authority of State Banks to Provide Virtual Currency Custody Services

In the past month, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC have each detailed their upcoming focus on digital asset activities in the banking industry. So far, state banking regulators have often outpaced their federal counterparts in terms of issuing formal regulations and guidance around digital assets. Many banks are waiting to explore potential digital asset products and services until the functional federal bank regulators provide concrete guidance to complete the picture.
Continue Reading Federal Bank Regulators Move to Provide Further Guidance on Digital Asset Activities

Texas is seeing considerable momentum with respect to a proposed digital asset law that is being considered in the 2021 legislative session in the form of House Bill 4474. In short, the Texas Virtual Currency Bill provides a basic legal framework for companies dealing with virtual currencies.
Continue Reading Texas Legislature Proposes Significant Virtual Currency Bill

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued Interpretive Letter 1174 on January 4, 2021, clarifying the authority of national banks and federal savings associations to buy, sell, and issue stablecoins and participate in independent node verification networks in order to conduct payment activities and other bank-permissible functions.
Continue Reading OCC Authorizes Banks to Leverage Cryptocurrency Payment Networks

The President’s Working Group (PWG), a federal interagency working group of financial regulators established by Executive Order in 1988, has issued a statement outlining key regulatory and supervisory considerations related to stablecoins and digital payment systems. Beginning with a declaration that the United States encourages responsible payments innovation, the statement outlines various high-level regulatory principles that participants in stablecoin arrangements need to account for.
Continue Reading Designing Stablecoins: Federal Regulators Issue Statement Highlighting Key Regulatory and Supervisory Considerations

Newly-proposed federal legislation would require all issuers of stablecoins and certain other digital asset companies to obtain a bank charter as a condition to operation. Referred to as the Stablecoin Tethering and Bank Licensing Enforcement Act, the draft legislation is intended to shift certain digital currency activities into the regulated banking framework.
Continue Reading New Legislation Proposes to Merge Crypto and Banking

The Wyoming Division of Banking issued a No-Action Letter in October 2020 in response to a request from a Wyoming-chartered public trust company seeking the Division of Banking’s position on the ability of the company to custody digital assets as well as hold itself out as a “qualified custodian.” The NAL prompted the Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a public statement seeking public comment on matters concerning the definition of “qualified custodian” under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-2 thereunder.
Continue Reading SEC and Wyoming Division of Banking Address Custody of Digital Assets

Wyoming recently awarded its second special-purpose depository institution charter to Avanti Bank. Kraken was the first institution to receive the newly created SPDI charter in September. As Wyoming had likely hoped when it passed a flurry of blockchain legislation, it appears that it is starting to take hold as a digital-asset-friendly banking state.
Continue Reading Wyoming Issues Second Crypto Bank Charter

PayPal released a press release on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, announcing the launch of a new cryptocurrency service that will enable its users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies. The press release comes on the heels of the New York Department of Financial Services announcement that PayPal was granted the state’s first “conditional BitLicense.”
Continue Reading PayPal Pushes Crypto Further into the Mainstream