The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is going to release a whitepaper this week calling upon regulatory bodies to come together to work out clear guidelines for fintech startups and products related to cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in particular.


The document is being percieved as the first major move on the federal level towards creating a regulatory framework for innovative financial technologies, including digital currencies and blockchain. Its aim can be described as “kicking off a formal discussion between regulators and the industry over how best to create new rules and processes.”

Apart from releasing the actual paper, OCC is planning to talk to the major players in the industry and start working out the rules based on the feedback they get. They also aim at fuelling the discussion within the sector.

Jo Ann Barefoot, a former OCC deputy comptroller and now a senior fellow at Harvard University, believes that the move shows a shift in the attitude of the federal regulator:

“Once the OCC thinks financial innovation is important, that’s a big change to the regulatory regime,” she said speaking to the Wall Street Journal. 

According to the magazine, under the impact of financial crisis the US regulators have been reluctant to tackle innovation problems for quite a long time, and thus, as believed by critics, started legging behind their major financial competitors, including the UK. 

“The U.S. regulators are watching what the U.K. has been doing over the past year and I think a lot of folks on this side of the pond feel like the U.S. regulators need to catch up,” the Wall Street Journal quotes Coin Center's Jerry Brito.

Still, attempts to bring together regulators and the industry to develop a common vision have already taken place in the US, the public-private forum Blockchain Alliance established by Coin Center and Chamber of Digital Commerce being one of them.

Maria Rudina