Analysis: OCC’s Decision on Banks and Cryptocurrency

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development , Standards, Regulations & Compliance

Nationally Chartered Banks Can Be Custodians of Cryptographic Keys for Wallets


James Wester, research director, worldwide blockchain strategies, IDC

Any nationally chartered bank can now serve as a custodian of the cryptographic keys for a cryptocurrency wallet, according to a Thursday letter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. This could open the door for banks to hold digital assets for their clients.

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“It’s a big deal on many different fronts,” says James Wester, a cryptocurrency specialist at the research firm IDC. “Anytime you get … the OCC weighing in on how they’re treating cryptocurrencies, it’s another step forward toward the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies.”

In a video interview with Information Security Media Group, Wester discusses:

  • The significance of the new OCC “interpretive letter”;
  • Whether this is an inflection point for cryptocurrencies;
  • What this development means for “fiat” currencies.

Wester is research director, worldwide blockchain strategies, at IDC. His cross-industry practice covers the emerging distributed ledger and blockchain technologies. Wester’s core research examines the technologies, architectures and concepts behind blockchain and how they will potentially be revolutionary for financial services, manufacturing, energy, government and healthcare.

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