In 2020, many state legislatures and state and federal regulators took proactive steps to encourage the use of digital technologies, whether that was through providing more detailed guidance on the regulatory side or by enacting new legislation. This Insight will focus, at a high level, on how legislatures and […]

In 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) took a welcoming approach to cryptocurrencies in a variety of ways. First, in July 2020, the OCC published an interpretive letter clarifying national banks’ and federal savings associations’ authority to provide cryptocurrency custody services (see further coverage here). Second, in October 2020, the OCC published an interpretive letter addressing the authority of a national bank to deposits that serve as reserves for certain stablecoins. The OCC has followed this up in 2021 by (a) releasing an interpretative letter regarding when national banks’ and federal savings associations’ can participate in independent node verification networks (INVN) and use stablecoins to conduct payment activities and other bank-permissible functions (see more here); (b) conditionally approving the conversion of Anchorage Trust Company to Anchorage Digital Bank, National Association, which will allow Anchorage Digital Bank to provide “sub-custody services…for any traditional financial institution that wishes to give its clients access to digital assets”; and (c) conditionally approving the conversion of Protego Trust Company to Protego Trust Bank, National Association, which when it begins operating “will provide cryptocurrency custody services in a fiduciary capacity for its clients by holding the unique cryptographic keys associated with Bitcoin and Ethereum.”

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