‘Digital assets’ subject of information request, spurred by increasing exploration of use by banks

Current and potential digital asset activities – which are being “increasingly” explored by banks – are the subject of the latest information gathering by the federal insurer of bank deposits, the agency said Monday.

In both a release and a “financial institution letter” (FIL-35-2021), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) said it issued a request for information (RFI) on digital assets, which the agency said it hopes will help it, and consumers, understand the new form of assets. The action will also help in informing any potential policymaking, the FDIC said. The agency asserted that there are “novel and unique considerations” related to digital assets.

In the FIL, the FDIC said banks are “increasingly” exploring several roles in the “emerging digital asset ecosystem,” and consumers are beginning to seek access to digital assets products and services. Those include banks serving as custodians, reserve holders, issuers, and exchange or redemption agents. Other roles include performing node functions; and holding digital asset issuers’ money deposits, the agency said.

The FIL also notes that banks are “encouraged to engage in discussions with FDIC supervisors, as appropriate, before engaging in such activities or investments” (as outlined under part 362 of the FDIC’s rules and regulations, which may apply to certain digital asset activities or investments).

Comments are due July 16.

FDIC Issues Request for Information on Digital Assets

FIL: Request for Information on Digital Assets