OCC Guidance Letter – Stablecoin reserves custody allowed to the US banks


  • OCC has announced that stablecoin issuers are now allowed to deposit reserves at federal banking institutions
  • SEC specifies that they must be structured and sold as securities, and promises leniency if issuers approach them for assistance
  • These actions provide much necessary regulatory guidance to the industry

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued the Chief Counsel’s Interpretation explicitly allowing the US nationally chartered banks and savings institutions to accept deposits from and keep custody of reserves for stablecoin issuers.

At the moment, this new interpretation of the bank’s authority is related to stablecoins that are redeemable at the 1:1 parity with the underlying fiat currency, and the issuer is hosting a wallet. A requirement accompanies this limited scope that the custody bank verifies on at least a daily level that the issuer’s reserve balance is equal or greeted than the outstanding supply of stablecoins.

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency designed to have a parity value with some underlying asset, most commonly with a fiat. OCC recognizes the need for stablecoin issuers to assure customers of possessing sufficient asset backing.

For this purpose, the OCC considers such custody services to be providing depositing service to customers.

OCC shows considerable support to the US crypto industry

Currently, the banks and other banking institutions are on the daily level taking part in stablecoin operations worth billions of US dollars. This development gives them a much-needed clarity of the regulatory framework relating to the cryptocurrency industry.

This is not the first action of the US government that shows growing support for this industry. This year, the Secretary of Treasury appointed Brian Brooks as the Acting Comptroller of Currency, an industry veteran formerly employed as the CLO of Coinbase.

As reported by Cryptopolitan earlier this year, OCC has released the guidance that allows American banks to offer crypto custody services. This move wouldn’t have happened without the US government’s explicit support for the national crypto-financial sector’s growth.

SEC expands on OCC letter

As a reaction to this development came the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) statement. The agency points out that the stablecoins should exist and be traded inside the securities regulations framework.

SEC’s statement admits that sometimes these digital assets are packaged and traded in a way that circumvents the classification as securities. To prevent any possible legal issues with such financial products, the SEC is publicly inviting prospective issuers to seek assistance in properly structuring these products. Additionally, the agency is making the explicit promise of a “no-action” position concerning the federal laws related to securities.

These developments come in the atmosphere of accelerating growth in the FinTech industry based on blockchain and related technologies. And will provide necessary counsel to the interested parties surrounding the requirements of being compliant with applicable laws.

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Gorica Gligorijevic

Gorica is a Serbian journalist with more than a decade of experience in print, web, TV, radio journalism, and the publishing industry. Past several years dedicated to web journalism and cryptocurrencies trading and investing.

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