The inter-agency crypto-asset policy sprint initiative has finally taken off. This morning the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (collectively, “the Agencies”) issued their first joint statement (the “Statement”) summarizing progress on a series of crypto-asset[1] policy sprints and revealing next steps.

The Statement is a continuation of an effort initiated by the “interagency sprint team,” a group of banking regulators convened earlier this year to examine the cryptocurrency sector.  After conducting a series of “policy sprints” where internal agency staff reviewed issues and existing policies, the Agencies identified areas where “additional public clarity is warranted.”

Accordingly, in the coming year, the Agencies say they plan to focus on issues related to legal permissibility, safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing legal and regulatory obligations. In particular, these issues include:

  • 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.
  • Activities involving the holding of crypto-assets on balance sheet.
  • Bank capital and liquidity standards and related engagement with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

While other issues (e.g., security, privacy) are relevant, it is telling that the Statement chose the above activities to underscore.

[1] The Statement defines “crypto-asset” as “any digital asset implemented using cryptographic techniques.”

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To help clients identify and respond to emerging issues in cryptocurrency and fintech, the Debevoise Fintech Group is launching a new blog dedicated to regulation in the cryptocurrency and fintech sector. Details on how to subscribe to the Debevoise Cryptocurrency and Fintech blog will be available in December on the Debevoise Data Blog and on the Debevoise FinTech page.

In the meantime, check out our other recent writings on the cryptocurrency sector:

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The authors would like to thank Debevoise law clerk Amy Aixi Zhang for her contribution to this article.

Author

Alison M. Hashmall is a counsel in the Debevoise's New York office and a member of the firm’s Financial Institutions and Banking Groups. Ms. Hashmall’s practice focuses on advising domestic and non-U.S. banking organizations and other financial institutions on a wide range of bank regulatory, policy and transactional matters. She can be reached at ahashmall@debevoise.com.

Author

Caroline Swett is a counsel and member of Debevoise’s Financial Institutions and Banking Groups. She advises domestic and foreign banks and other financial institutions on a wide range of regulatory, enforcement and transactional matters. She can be reached at cnswett@debevoise.com.

Author

Taylor Richards is a corporate associate and a member of Debevoise's Banking Group. She can be reached at tmrichar@debevoise.com.

Author

Chen Xu is a corporate associate and a member of Debevoise's Financial Institutions Group. He can be reached at cxu@debevoise.com.