US Banks May Seek to Partner With or Buy Crypto Custodians, OCC's Brooks Says

The OCC's July ruling that allowed banks to provide custody spurred the newfound interest, Brooks said.

Oct 31, 2020 at 5:54 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:26 a.m. UTC

U.S. banks are looking at ways to handle crypto adoption in the wake of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) July decision to allow banks to provide custody for cryptocurrencies, Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks said in a podcast. That may mean partnering with or purchasing custodians, he said.

  • Speaking on Laura Shin's "Unchained" podcast earlier this week, Brooks said "Well, what I have heard ... a number of big crypto custodians – Anchorage, Coinbase and a number of others – have been contacted by banks about whether they’d be willing to be like the third-party custody providers for national banks whose customers want to invest in bitcoin.”
  • Brooks speculated that due to the complexity of being a custodian, banks will seek to partner with or outright buy custodians to handle the cryptocurrencies invested with them.
  • "What they’ll want to do is either buy crypto custodians, or partner with crypto custodians to provide those services on their behalf and now they can legally do that,” Brooks said.
  • Brooks also said the move by banks to offer crypto will increase the comfort level of retail investors with the asset and lead to further gains, saying, "I think the demand increase is going to be noticeable.”

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