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

On Monday, October 19, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced a $60 million civil money penalty against Larry Dean Harmon, the founder, administrator and primary operator of unlicensed convertible virtual currency “mixers” for alleged violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations.
Continue Reading FinCEN Issues $60M Fine for Convertible Virtual Currency BSA Violations

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Justice’s Cyber-Digital Task Force released an 83-page report entitled “Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework.” The DOJ report highlights many of the legal and enforcement risks posed in the burgeoning crypto marketplace, and includes various enforcement case studies as well as informative graphics.
Continue Reading DOJ Releases Cryptocurrency Enforcement Report

Providing additional clarity on the role of an alternative trading system (ATS) in the settlement of digital asset security trades, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets issued a no-action letter to FINRA on September 25, 2020.  In brief, the SEC staff endorsed a three-step settlement process for digital asset securities held in a third-party’s custody if certain customer-protection conditions are met.
Continue Reading SEC Staff Provides Guidance on Non-Custodial Digital Asset Settlement

On Monday, September 21, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued an interpretive letter on the authority of national banks and federal savings associations to hold stablecoin reserves. That same day, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology issued a statement on the OCC’s interpretive letter. While not an official joint statement, the federal agencies were clearly aligned as FinHub’s statement on the OCC Interpretive Letter was posted on its website before the OCC published its letter.
Continue Reading OCC and SEC’s FinHub Issue Guidance on Stablecoins

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 and information regarding next steps the OCC intends to take with respect to blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
Continue Reading Senate Banking Committee Shows Continued Interest in Cryptoassets