Crypto Long & Short: What Are Regulators Thinking?

When the news came out last month that the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) had cleared banks to custody crypto assets, you may remember that I expressed surprise that the new crypto-friendly Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks had managed to get such a bold move through the channels of bureaucracy so fast. It turns out that he didn’t.

Apparently the OCC had been working on this letter for some time, according to regulatory sources who spoke to my colleague Nik De.

While this may sound like a “so what?” revelation, let’s zoom in on the interesting part: the OCC had been looking at this for some time.

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We don’t know exactly how long, but the act of writing an interpretive letter typically takes months, and the deliberations start well before the writing begins.

The takeaway here is that regulators in Washington have been working on how to support crypto innovation while protecting investors for longer than many realize. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, for example, started looking closely at crypto assets as early as 2014, and other organizations no doubt also have had teams keeping an eye on developments since even before the 2017 bull run.

Politicians, also. This week we reported that former U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis won her primary race to join the U.S. Senate representing Wyoming, and is favored to win the general election. She bought her first bitcoin in 2013 and has been an advocate ever since.

We also reported that the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Tom Emmer, revealed that he will accept bitcoin donations for his reelection campaign. He…

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