Crypto custodian Anchorage has secured conditional approval for a national trust charter from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), making it the first national “digital asset bank” in the U.S.
The safekeeping, management and trading of digital assets have been regulatory stumbling blocks for large financial institutions – but those obstacles are gradually being removed. The OCC, a part of the Treasury Department charged with keeping banks safe but also competitive, has now issued three interpretative letters that lay the groundwork for banks to custody crypto, participate in blockchain networks and become payment providers using the tech.
“In granting this charter, the OCC applied the same rigorous review and standards applied to all charter applications,” the bank regulator said in a statement. “By bringing this applicant into the federal banking system, the bank and industry will benefit from the OCC’s extensive supervisory experience and expertise.”
“We are a national bank. The only difference is our business line, that we’re doing crypto assets versus doing other assets,” Anchorage President Diogo Mónica said in an interview. “The benefit of having a federally chartered bank is that it preempts all the state laws. The clarity of being regulated by the oldest regulator for banks in the United States … sends a very clear message.”
Acting OCC chief Brian Brooks, speaking at a public event earlier Wednesday, expressed his belief that banks and financial services more broadly will transition to being blockchain-based.
“I think what’s necessary is the creation of crypto banks that are able to hold stablecoins that reflect value of a fiat currency, but that doesn’t change the native asset, and you need to have real cryptocurrencies over here where they interact directly with each other, with no need to ever off-ramp,” Brooks said. “Fiat will ultimately be a legacy thing of the past.”