New OCC Head Doesn't Rule Anything Out in Digital Asset Guidance Review

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is reviewing all of the digital asset guidance issued under the leadership of former Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks.

AccessTimeIconJun 2, 2021 at 7:39 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:05 p.m. UTC

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is looking at “everything” around digital asset guidance issued last year, its current head said.

The OCC is undertaking a broad review of interpretive guidance, conditional trust charters and other issues around digital assets, said Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu in a virtual press conference Wednesday. Hsu, who took office last month succeeding former Acting Comptrollers Brian Brooks and Blake Paulson, has called for a review of a host of issues the federal bank regulator oversees.

“I've instructed the team – everything's on the table, let's think about everything – while being cognizant of factors [like] constraints around decisions that have already been made, things that have already been put out there, what the state of play is,” Hsu said. “And so, you know, it's basically encouraging my team to think broadly about everything while being pragmatic.”

This review includes conditional national trust charters issued to a few cryptocurrency firms and applications for such charters from other companies, he said.

The ultimate goal is to determine an “overall strategy” for digital assets, he said. 

It’s this same viewpoint that inspired an interagency sprint group composed of members of the OCC, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, he said. 

“The instructions that we gave to the team were to really focus on, first and foremost, getting on the same page in terms of terminology,” Hsu said. “Definitions can help on an interagency basis in terms of talking about being precise.”

Once the group has created a common set of definitions, it can move to identifying risks in the digital asset sector and determine next steps around regulations.

Hsu said he hopes the different regulatory agencies that may have jurisdiction over digital assets can work together to determine the most beneficial regulatory framework, including overseeing trading platforms.

“The strongest view I have right now is that we all need to talk to each other and decide on this together,” he said. “What we need to avoid is effectively competing with each other in a way that leads to a race to the bottom.”

Read more about


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Investing in the Future of the Digital Economy
October 18-19 | Spring Studio, NYC