Senate Banking Committee chairman seeks clarity from OCC on crypto payments rules

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is pushing the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to craft policy on crypto payments.

In a September 1 letter from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) to OCC acting comptroller Brian Brooks, the lawmaker said it would be "prudent" to provide clarity on payments in light of the office's recent announcement that national banks' and federal savings associations are eligible to custody cryptocurrency.

"The U.S. should develop clear rules of the road that protect businesses and consumers without stifling future innovation," read Crapo's statement.            

The letter also seeks an update on any input the OCC has received related to its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). The June 4 ANPR opened a comment period that concluded August 3. Prompts in the ANPR touched on a number of aspects related to fintech use in national banks, but Crapo's letter specifically asked for feedback related to prompts on ledger technology, cryptocurrencies and emerging payment technologies. 

Crapo has previously headed up Senate hearings related to blockchain and cryptocurrency as chairman of the Banking Committee.

During last year's Senate panel on the topic, discussion on crypto payments was entangled with concerns surrounding the Libra stablecoin project. At the time, Crapo voiced concerns about whether Libra could adhere to U.S. regulations.