US regulators are exploring policy for banks to handle crypto, says FDIC chair

US regulators are exploring policy for banks to handle crypto, says FDIC chair

Jelena McWilliams is the chairperson for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or FDIC. She stated that the agency is currently working with other US regulators to determine “under what circumstances banks may engage in activities related to crypto assets.”

McWilliams spoke at the Money20/20 Fintech Conference Monday. He stated that the FDIC is working with the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to provide regulatory clarity for banks dealing in crypto assets, such as stablecoins, in coordination. In the next few months, the FDIC will issue “a series” of policy statements on guidance for banks, according to the chairperson.

McWilliams believes stablecoins offer many benefits for consumers. They can be faster, cheaper, and more efficient than traditional payments. She stated that “one or more” stablecoins could become the dominant payment method in the United States and globally. This would have significant consequences for financial stability in that country, as funds will no longer be held in insured banks.

The FDIC chairperson stated that stablecoins must be subject to a well-tailored government oversight in order to reap the potential benefits they have. However, it should also account for possible risks. This oversight must be based on the fact that stablecoins issued outside of the banking sector are backed by highly liquid, safe assets.

Related: SEC chair compares casino poker chips to stablecoins

McWilliams’ comments came on the same day Bloomberg reported US regulators had reached an agreement for the Securities and Exchange Commission to lead the nation’s effort to regulate stablecoins. In July, the Department of the Treasury stated that it was looking into the creation of a banking charter to help stablecoin issuers.

Many firms have been concerned about the lack of clarity in regulation regarding digital assets in the United States. They fear that they will face legal action or other forms governmental backlash. A few lawmakers have proposed legislation that would allow U.S. regulators and participants in the crypto sector to better understand what is expected.

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