The Federal Reserve Board, FDIC and OCC offered a roadmap to clarify the regulation of activities involving crypto-assets. The agencies based their roadmap on interagency "policy sprints" on crypto-assets, which focused on (i) the development of a universal vocabulary regarding banks' crypto-asset use, (ii) the identification and evaluation of major security, consumer protection and compliance risks associated with banks' crypto-asset use, and (iii) the evaluation of the applicability of current regulations and guidance.
In the policy sprints, the agencies' staff assessed (i) crypto-asset custody, (ii) how banks facilitate crypto-asset sales and purchases, (iii) loans collateralized by crypto-assets, (iv) payment activities, including those involving stablecoins and (v) activities that cause banks to hold crypto-assets on their balance sheets.
The agencies stated that they intend to provide regulatory clarity throughout 2022 on all of the aforementioned activities, in addition to ancillary custody services. The agencies also plan to assess the application of bank capital and liquidity standards to U.S. banks' crypto-asset activities, including through continued engagement with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
The announcement on the work undertaken in the agencies' crypto-sprints is generally welcome by the industry. The announcement makes clear that 2022 will see more clarity coming from the federal banking agencies. As the crypto-asset sector continues to grow very quickly, the regulators will face more and more pressure to bring clarity on what is permissible and what is not for banking organizations.