US Federal Bank Regulator (OCC) Issues Notice for Feedback on Crypto and DLT Activity

The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) has asked for feedback in matters crypto and distributed ledgers according to two notices published on June 4. This U.S bank regulator and charter issuer now wants to engage the public in creating a stable digital currency ecosystem based on regulation.

Dubbed ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking‘ and an ‘Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking‘, these initiatives seek to create a conversation with the likes of federal saving associations and banks amongst other stakeholders. Notably, it is the latter notice which focuses on digital currency activity and the supporting tech, distributed ledgers. Bryan Hubbard, the OCC spokesperson, echoed in an email that it is in the regulator’s interest to spearhead this discussion,

“The request for stakeholder comment[s] is part of the OCC’s commitment to responsible innovation and aligned with our understanding that banks must be able to evolve to meet the needs of the consumers, businesses, and communities that rely on them.”

This move comes shortly after Brian Brooks took the helm at the OCC in an interim position. The former Coinbase Chief Legal Officer is optimistic that the regulator will learn what form of support banks and the crypto ecosystem need to thrive together. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Brooks said that the OCC will now consolidate quickly on its thoughts about the crypto space:

“The OCC, quickly under my watch, will get a position together as to what… we think about national banks as appropriate custodians for cryptocurrency. We don’t have a view on that and I don’t want to prejudge that but it is certainly an interest of mine from my past life that we need to come to ground on that.”

OCC’s Focus Area in Crypto and DLT’s

As highlighted earlier, this regulator presented some questions in the filing as it seeks to understand the space better. Basically, the main questions revolved around crypto activity and how adoption can be accelerated through regulatory support. For digital currencies, the filing reads:

“What types of activities related to cryptocurrencies or crypto-assets are financial services companies or bank customers engaged? To what extent does customer engagement in crypto-related activities impact banks and the banking industry? What are the barriers or obstacles, if any, to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry? Are there specific activities that should be addressed in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”

On distributed ledgers, the filing asks almost similar questions with a focus on their potential to disrupt the current banking ecosystems:

“How is distributed ledger technology used, or potentially used, in banking activities (e.g., identity verification, credit underwriting or monitoring, payments processing, trade finance, and records management)? Are there specific matters on this topic that should be clarified in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”

The OCC has since directed interested stakeholders to share their views via mail, email, fax, hand-deliver, or simply file the feedback online.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

International Organization of Securities Commission Looks to the Public Crypto Regulation Suggestions

International Organization of Securities Commission Looks to the Public Crypto Regulation Suggestions
  • IOSCO requested feedback from public in new paper on the concerns of regulating cryptocurrency around the world.
  • Some considerations that IOSCO requests feedback for include the protection of access, price integrity, and the technology of the crypto market.

Determining the best way to regulate the cryptocurrency industry has been a goal of multiple jurisdictions around the world. Now, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has published a recent consultation paper on the matter, which was published on May 28th. The IOSCO is a standard setter for global securities regulations.

In the news release for this paper, the organization clarifies that they regulate about 95% of the securities markets around the world, while impacts 115 jurisdictions. Within the IOSCO, the organization works towards adherence to a mutual and consistent standard, determining the regulations and how they are enforced in the global securities sector.

The consultation paper is called “Issues, Risks, and Regulatory Considerations Relating to Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms.”

The paper requests feedback from the public that will help the organization understand the risks and other concerns associated with the cryptocurrency industry, as identified by IOSCO. The public will need to submit all of their comments by July 29th this year.

In the report, the company outlines certain considerations, which includes:

  • Access to CTPs
  • Protecting assets
  • Conflicts of interest
  • CTP operation
  • Market integrity
  • Price integrity
  • Technology

This innovative approach follows a G20 2018 communique that was already presented to the various entities that set the standards for regulations. The communique discussed the continuance of regulating cryptocurrencies and addressing their risks, “according to their respective mandates, and asset multilateral responses as needed.”

In some cases, the new release states that the cryptocurrency assets will end up covered by the traditional framework of the securities laws already in place. However, that circumstance will only be implemented if the local regulatory authority in that area has determined that the crypto asset is considered a security that would already be covered by the phrasing in their securities laws.

The fact that CTPs could be regulated brings up another potential issue for the authorities, according to IOSCO. For that reason, the paper states that it may be helpful to use their detailed analysis of considerations as a baseline for regulators, as they determine their revised approach.

The IOSCO established the Initial Coin Offering Consultation Network in January 2018, as a way to learn about the experiences of the ICO market. Some of the issues addressed in the annual conference that year revolved around the challenges associated with this budding asset class. As such, the challenges impacted the approaches that securities regulators worldwide took on in their governance of the industry.

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Author: Krystle M