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‘We’re Very Focused on Not Killing’ Bitcoin – Acting OCC Chief Brooks

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Smith
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In Brief

  • Acting OCC head Brian Brooks says nobody is going to ban Bitcoin.
  • Brooks says banks should be able to connect directly to blockchains as payment networks.
  • Favorable crypto regulations are likely coming before the end of Trump's term.
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Brian Brooks, acting head of the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) says regulators are not out to “kill” Bitcoin (BTC).

Brooks’s comments come amid speculation of strict crypto-related regulations pertaining particularly to self-hosted wallets.

“Nobody’s Going to Ban Bitcoin”

In an interview with CNBC on Dec. 4, Brooks downplayed fears of a possible blanket crypto ban in the US. According to the Acting Comptroller of the Currency, the focus for regulators is not in enacting more regulations but in creating a conducive environment for the technology to flourish.

Brooks added:

“We are very focused on getting this [crypto regulations] right. We’re very focused on not killing this [Bitcoin and cryptos].”

Back in November, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong claimed that the US Treasury was looking to rush through regulations targeted at non-custodial wallets.

While alluding to the possibility of Trump-era crypto regulations coming within the closing stages of the current administration, Brooks, a one-time chief legal officer at Coinbase remarked that these laws would seek to balance out concerns for all stakeholders.

Apart from Armstrong’s warnings, the US crypto space has also been rocked with stablecoin regulatory discussions in Congress. The latest Congressional bill seeks to mandate Federal approval for stablecoin issuers.

Legal Clarity and Robust AML Compliance

For Brooks, the concern for regulators should revolve around legal clarity for cryptos as well as strict compliance to anti-money laundering (AML) standards. Commenting on the need for greater clarity, the acting OCC chief opined:

“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.”

As previously reported by BeInCrypto, the OCC has already approved some Federally-chartered banks to provide custody for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to Brooks, the move is indicative of the type of clarity required by the industry as a whole.

Commenting further, the OCC chief remarked that greater clarity would enable investors more freedom to participate in the market. For Brooks, crypto may have been a bubble back in 2017-2018, but the asset class is showing signs of maturing that should attract significant institutional interest.

Indeed, the current consensus is that big-money players are at the heart of the prevailing bullishness in the Bitcoin and crypto market. Reports indicate that companies now own almost 1 million BTC, which amounts to ~$16 billion at current prices.

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Osato Avan-Nomayo
Osato is a reporter at BeInCrypto and Bitcoin believer based in Lagos, Nigeria. When not immersed in the daily happenings in the crypto scene, he can be found watching historical documentaries or trying to beat his Scrabble high score.