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U.S. Office of the Comptroller will discuss tokenization as opposed to crypto

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The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an independent bureau of the Treasury Department that supervises “national” commercial banks in the United States, will host a symposium on tokenization in February 2024. 

The upcoming symposium is set to ignite a public dialogue on the transformative potential of tokenizing “real-world” financial assets and liabilities. A particular emphasis will be put on establishing the groundwork for “responsible innovation.” The Acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu highlights the emerging divide between crypto and the tokenization of real-world assets and liabilities:

“Crypto remains driven by the promise of speculative gains, continues to be marked by rampant scams, fraud, and hacks, and struggles to comply with anti-money laundering rules. By contrast, tokenization is driven by solving real-world settlement problems and can easily be developed in a safe and sound manner and fully compliant with anti-money laundering rules.”

Related: IRS crypto tax reporting rules threat to industry — Coinbase legal chief

The symposium is set to include keynote remarks from Hyun Song Shin, Economic Adviser and Head of Research at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Panel presentations will explore the legal foundations for tokens, tokenization use cases, risk management considerations and economic research on tokenization.

The OCC promises to livestream the meeting and post the registration forms later this year on its website.

The OCC has consistently discouraged banks from engaging with cryptocurrencies through its interpretive letters. At the start of 2023, it joined two other bank regulatory agencies in issuing a collective statement cautioning banks about the potential risks associated with crypto.

In March 2023, the agency announced the establishment of its Office of Financial Technology, which should broaden the OCC’s technology focus and help it stay abreast of the rapid developments in the banking industry.

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