Lawmakers propose letting the only government-run bank in the US become a crypto custodian

A group of North Dakota state lawmakers have proposed allowing a government-run bank in the state to become a crypto custodian.

The Bank of North Dakota is the only financial institution of its kind in the United States, and was first founded in 1919. 

According to the text of House Bill No. 1267, introduced on January 11, "[t]he Bank of North Dakota may provide custodian services for digital currency and may implement a digital currency exchange." Still, the key word is may in this case, as the legislation also calls for the Bank to conduct a feasibility report before August 2022.

As the legislation states:


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"During the 2021-22 interim the Bank of North Dakota shall study the feasibility and desirability of providing digital currency custodian services and of implementing a digital currency exchange. Before August 1, 2022, the Bank shall report to the legislative management's information technology committee the outcome of the study."

Yet the measure is notable insofar as it signals that state governments are looking into letting banking institutions in their jurisdictions to embrace crypto-related services.

Last year, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released guidance giving federally chartered banks the ability to serve as cryptocurrency custodians

“This opinion clarifies that banks can continue satisfying their customers’ needs for safeguarding their most valuable assets, which today for tens of millions of Americans includes cryptocurrency," then-Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks said at the time.

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