US Bank Regulator to Examine Distributed Ledgers in FinTech Framework Push

The US Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is looking to establish a framework for regulating financial technologies like blockchain.

Mar 31, 2016 at 6:12 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:12 p.m. UTC

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has released a new white paper on financial technology innovation, proposing an approach to handling how banking institutions experiment with new technologies like the blockchain.

The agency, which oversees banking activity in the US, promoted the idea of what it called "responsible innovation" in the paper.

Citing the 2008 financial panic, the OCC said that responsible innovation means the use of new technology "that is consistent with sound risk management and is aligned with the bank’s overall business strategy".

Among the FinTech applications it cited is blockchain technology, which is mentioned alongside peer-to-peer lending and mobile payments. The OCC says that blockchain technology "has the potential to transform how transactions are processed and settled".

Comptroller Thomas J Curry said in a speech today that the OCC is creating a framework for examining FinTech innovations, and that it may seek to create an internal office dedicated to monitoring developments in this sector.

In the past, the OCC has called for a “balanced” approach to regulating bitcoin and other digital currencies. During a 2014 speech, Curry called the technology "potentially revolutionary".

The office said today that it wants to push all banks to take a measured, risk-based approach to new financial technologies, and further indicated that it will seek a culture change within its ranks through education and outreach programs.

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