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Python Politics Part 1: The US Government's Slow Squeeze on Crypto via the Banking System

Agencies across the federal government have launched a coordinated campaign to pressure banks into not serving crypto customers.

February 9, 2023

Operation Choke Point was an Obama-era initiative that put political pressure on banks and financial institutions to deny service to out-of-favor industries. Something similar is happening again with intense pressure being exerted for banks not to service the crypto industry. On this first part of a two-episode special, NLW looks at what’s happening, as well as the key recent history of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the U.S.’ main banking regulator.

CORRECTION NOTE: At the 4:18 mark, NLW states: “At present there are two outstanding applications for licenses to operate national trust banks from Anchorage and Paxos, and these applications appear likely to be rejected by the OCC.”

This was a mis-statement. Anchorage Digital is the only operational OCC-chartered digital asset bank, with their charter was approved by the OCC in January 2021. Paxos and Protego are the outstanding applications. This line has now been removed from the audio.

“The Breakdown” is written, produced by and features Nathaniel Whittemore aka NLW, with editing by Rob Mitchell and research by Scott Hill. Jared Schwartz is our executive producer and our theme music is “Countdown” by Neon Beach. Music behind our sponsor today is “Foothill Blvd” by Sam Barsh. Image credit: Lusky/Getty Images, modified by CoinDesk. Join the discussion at