According to an announcement from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), US banks can now use public blockchains and stablecoins to execute payments and other bank-permissible functions.
The OCC is a part of the country’s Treasury and one of the largest banking regulators. Following the new guidelines, American banks would be allowed to take part in what the regulators dubbed “independent node verification networks (INVN).” For the uninitiated, this simply means public blockchains.
Acting Comptroller of the agency, Brian Brooks admitted the speed and low fees associated with blockchain transactions. He said:
Our letter removes any legal uncertainty about the authority of banks to connect to blockchains as validator nodes and thereby transact stablecoin payments on behalf of customers who are increasingly demanding the speed, efficiency, interoperability, and low cost associated with these products.
Whilst the new development may seem like a win for digital assets, it is worth stating that U.S. regulators have been pushing for increased scrutiny on crypto transactions. For instance, the new Stable Act would require issuers of stablecoins to obtain a chartered banking license and submit to checks from the Federal Reserve.