US Regulator Wants to Put an End to Unfair Practices Against Crypto Businesses

2020 was a tough year for crypto, but it seems like the last few months are trying to compensate hodlers for the bad times. And now, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is bringing more good news to the crypto space.

A recent regulatory proposal issued by the OCC seeks to ensure that crypto businesses enjoy the same facilities when it comes to having a bank account as any other legitimate endeavors.

No More Discrimination

In short, the OCC wants to end with the silent discrimination against crypto businesses. Instead of using general considerations towards all crypto businesses, banks should now evaluate each company individually.

“Consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act’s mandate of fair access to financial services and since at least 2014, the OCC has repeatedly stated that while banks are not obligated to offer any particular financial benefit to their customers, they must make the services they do offer available to all customers except to the extent that risk factors particular to an individual customer dictate otherwise.

The “Fair Access to Financial Services” proposal seeks provide a better way to evaluate the risk of certain businesses like fintechs, exchanges, payment protocols, lending and custody services, etc.

In order to ensure that banks provide customers with fair access to financial services, and consistent with longstanding OCC policy, a bank’s decision not to serve a particular customer must be based on an individual risk management decision about that individual customer, not on the fact that the customer operates in an industry subject to a broad categorical exclusion created by the bank

It is no secret that a significant number of crypto companies have difficulties operating in the United States, mainly due to the high level of bureaucracy and the almost absolute discretion banks have when it comes to deciding whether or not to offer their services to a client —especially one with such a delicate line of work.

But everything seems to be changing and crypto firms would have an easier way to have banking services —should the proposal receive the proper approval.

The New Comptroller Could Play a Leading Role in Shaping The Crypto Ecosystem of Tomorrow

The Office explains that it wants to put an end to Operation Choke-Point’s legacy in which certain government agencies allegedly pressured banks to cut off access to financial services to different sectors of the economy like crypto services providers. The OCC considered those activities as “disfavored but not unlawful.”

Although that operation ended, there are still some traces still alive in the financial sector, especially in private banks’ “preventive” actions.

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks worked with the crypto exchange Coinase in the past. Source: CNBC
Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks. Source: CNBC

It seems that Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Brian Brooks, former Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, is bearing fruit. More Announcements like this one could have a remarkable impact on those who operate with cryptocurrencies on a daily basis.

Under Brook’s command, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has played a more active role in the race for regulators to come up with the best legal framework for a crypto-economy.

This approach is not to the likes of some democrat lawmakers, but still, the US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to nominate Brooks for a 5-year position as head of the Office. This could guarante a major ally for the whole crypto ecosystem on a near and medium term. And it means a lot —especially now that markets are bullish.


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