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Top US Banking Regulator Reveals Positive Cryptocurrency Regulation Coming in Weeks

The top U.S. banking regulator has confirmed that positive cryptocurrency regulation is coming in a matter of weeks, by the end of the Trump term. “It’s going to work for everybody,” said the regulator, adding that the new regulation will “make it easier for crypto investors to know how to invest,” therefore attracting more institutional investors.

Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, answered some questions about the upcoming U.S. cryptocurrency regulation in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Friday.

Brooks is the administrator of the federal banking system and chief officer of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC supervises nearly 1,200 national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches of foreign banks that conduct approximately 70% of all banking business in the U.S.

Regarding the new U.S. cryptocurrency regulation, Brooks said: “We’re very focused on getting this right. We are very focused on not killing this, and it is equally important that we develop the networks behind bitcoin and other cryptos as it is we prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.” He elaborated:

Believe me, there is a balance here and it’s going to work for everybody … there’s going to be very positive messages coming out.

Brooks’ answer was in response to a question about a rumor that the Treasury Department may be rushing out crypto regulation before the end of the Trump term. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong voiced his concerns on Twitter on Nov. 25. He wrote: “We heard rumors that the U.S. Treasury and Secretary Mnuchin were planning to rush out some new regulation regarding self-hosted crypto wallets before the end of his term. I’m concerned that this would have unintended side effects.”

“What we do need is clarity about what is allowed, and so we need some guidance for example whether banks can connect directly to blockchains as payment networks, the answer has to be yes,” explained Brooks, who previously served as the chief legal officer at Coinbase. He emphasized that some aspects of the new regulation will provide clarity around the nature of crypto assets.

While noting that “it’s a dangerous world out there,” the top banking regulator stressed:

Nobody is going to ban bitcoin. Nobody is going to ban some of these transmission technologies so I think it’s going to be a lot less bad than than people worry about.

When asked about whether he believes more regulation will benefit the crypto industry, the OCC chief said: “I don’t think we need 50 regulations instead of two, but what we do need is clarity about what’s allowed.”

He continued: “We need some guidance, for example, about whether banks can connect directly to blockchains as payment networks. The answer has to be yes … We need the answers about can banks custody cryptocurrencies so that institutions feel comfortable adopting. And you saw what happened when we gave that clarity.”

Brooks was specifically asked whether people should expect new U.S. crypto regulation by the end of the Trump term. “I think you’re going to see a lot of good news for crypto by the end of the Trump term,” he replied, adding:

So you have clarity across a variety of areas that I think you’ll be seeing just in the next 6 – 8 weeks, which will make it easier for crypto investors to know how to invest, to know how institutions can be in this asset class.

“Those are the things that are driving prices at this point,” he opined. “You know it may have been a bubble two years ago, but with more clarity, institutions that see this as a real thing are going to adopt at scale, which they’ve already started to do. So stay tuned.”

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