US banks may be allowed to work with cryptocurrencies

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is exploring ways to make it easier for banks and their customers to access cryptocurrencies. It is assumed that this will allow the authorities to maintain control over the emerging asset class, writes Reuters, citing FDIC chairman Elena McWilliams.

The FDIC is the leading US banking agency specializing in deposit insurance. The authority of the department extends to all banks within the Federal Reserve System, as well as other credit institutions.

According to McWilliams, a team of banking regulators is preparing a roadmap, guided by which banks will be able to work with cryptocurrencies. The document will cover the rules for storing cryptocurrencies for servicing customer transactions, using them as collateral, and even adding them to balances alongside traditional assets.

“I think we need to allow banks to enter this space while also properly managing risk,” McWilliams said. – If we do not transfer these operations to banks, they will take place outside the banks. Federal regulators will not be able to control them. “

The regulatory team was assembled in May this year. It includes representatives from the FDIC, the Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Under the previous chairman, Brian Brooks, the OCC actively expanded the capabilities of banks in the cryptocurrency space, including allowing them to work with stablecoins. These innovations are now being reviewed by new management, said OCC current chairman Michael Hsu.

Some banks have already started providing the corresponding services. US Bancorp announced this month that it will accept custody of investment managers’ cryptocurrencies. McWilliams, however, noted that regulation continues to be developed.

“My role in this interagency group is, in fact, to show banks the way to store these assets, use cryptocurrency assets, including as a form of collateral. At some point, we will decide how and under what circumstances banks will be able to keep them on the balance sheet, she added. “The problem is that the valuation of these assets fluctuates almost on a daily basis. We need to figure out what requirements to impose on capital and liquidity, so that they can be added to the balance sheets. “

Payment company Mastercard announced on Monday that it will open access to cryptocurrencies to all banks and merchants in its network.

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