Federal bank regulators will spend part of next year laying out rules for how banks can participate in the booming cryptocurrency sector, according to a joint statement Tuesday from three agencies.
The Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency aren’t proposing any new regulations, yet. But they plan to coordinate next year “to provide greater clarity on whether certain activities related to crypto-assets conducted by banking organizations are legally permissible,” they said in a statement.
That agenda includes ensuring that financial institutions remain stable – and consumers protected – as they facilitate buying and selling crypto assets, issue crypto-backed loans and issue the digital tokens known as stablecoins.
The statement is the latest indication that regulators are racing to bring the crypto industry under the existing financial oversight regime before its explosive growth presents a systemic threat.
The road map they laid out for next year resulted from a months-long “crypto sprint” conducted by staffers at the three agencies. Part of their effort involved ironing out a common understanding for all the new vocabulary introduced by the tech.
The key takeaway from the review is that regulators “are approaching crypto activities very carefully and with a high degree of caution,” Michael Hsu, acting head of the OCC, said in speech last week. “We expect banks to do the same.”