Anchorage Secures Trust Charter from Outgoing OCC Brian Brooks; Becomes First Crypto Bank
Crypto custody and financial services firm Anchorage has received a conditional trust charter from the OCC.
According to a press release, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced on Wednesday that it had granted Anchorage a conditional license to operate as the first digital bank in the U.S.
A First for the Industry
Anchorage was established in 2017 by Diogo Mónic and Nathan McCauley, two former employees at payment processor Square.
While it started as a custody service, the company has expanded its offering to include crypto trading and lending. It already went through two funding rounds, with the most recent involving companies like Andreessen Horowitz and VISA. It filed for the bank charter late last year, citing the need for adequate sub-custodial services in the crypto space.
Anchorage chief executive Nathan McCauley stressed that this was a significant development nonetheless. Speaking with Forbes, McCauley explained that the trust charter would make traditional banks more comfortable dealing with cryptocurrencies.
“It will let all sorts of people come to the table who until now have been hesitant to come in. It marks a big shift in the availability of crypto assets,” he added, claiming that several large companies will be more willing to invest in crypto in the future.
Industry news sources have added that a full bank charter will depend on some unique requirements. For one, Anchorage will need to fulfill certain liquidity and capital requirements. The company will also need to meet the OCC’s risk management standards.
Banks Warming Up to Crypto
Traditional banks have already shown an appetite for dealing with cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan, the country’s largest investment bank, has adopted a significantly pro-Bitcoin stance in the past few months, with several analyses detailing the possibility of the leading cryptocurrency usurping gold as the global reserve asset.
At the same time, New York-based Morgan Stanley recently increased its Bitcoin exposure after upping its stake in business intelligence solutions company MicroStrategy. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week showed that Morgan Stanley had acquired 792,627 shares in MicroStrategy, giving it 10.9 percent ownership of the latter. MicroStrategy made significant Bitcoin plays last year, with the company owning 70,470 BTC as of December 21.
The OCC also ruled to allow banks to run independent stablecoin nodes earlier this year. In an interpretive letter, the agency explained that banks could use stablecoins for their permissible activities, including but not limited to making payments. More developments like these show that banks are gearing up to embrace digital assets, and Anchorage hopes to be a big part of that.
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