Crypto assets present opportunities, risks, federal agencies say

Three government agencies issued a joint statement regarding the emerging crypto-asset sector, saying it presents potential opportunities and risks for banking organizations, their customers, and the overall financial system.

Throughout 2022, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC say they plan to provide greater clarity on whether certain activities related to crypto assets conducted by banking organizations are legally permissible. According to the statement, the agencies plan to examine expectations for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing laws and regulations related to:

  • crypto-asset safekeeping and traditional custody services;
  • ancillary custody services;
  • facilitation of customer purchases and sales of crypto assets;
  • loans collateralized by crypto assets;
  • issuance and distribution of stablecoins; and
  • activities involving the holding of crypto assets on balance sheets.

Further, the agencies recently conducted a series of interagency “policy sprints” focused on crypto assets, according to the statement. Similar to a “tech sprint” model, agency staff with various backgrounds and relevant subject matter expertise conducted preliminary analysis on various issues regarding crypto assets. The joint statement summarizes the work undertaken during the policy sprints and provides a roadmap of future planned work.

The agencies also plan to continue to monitor developments in crypto assets and may address other issues as the market evolves, according to the statement.

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