US OCC to Host Discussion on Tokenization of Real-World Assets

US OCC to Host Discussion on Tokenization of Real-World Assets – In February 2024, the United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an autonomous division within the U.S. Treasury Department responsible for overseeing national commercial banks, will be convening a symposium. This event aims to spark a discussion among the public regarding the revolutionary prospects associated with the tokenization of tangible financial assets and obligations.

The event will particularly focus on establishing the groundwork for “responsible innovation.” In a press release, Acting Comptroller Michael 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” 

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“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.” The upcoming symposium is a notable event featuring keynote speeches by Hyun Song Shin, who serves as an economic adviser and heads the research division at the Bank for International Settlements. This symposium will delve into several essential topics through panel discussions. 

These topics will encompass the legal groundwork for tokens, practical applications of tokenization, considerations for managing associated risks, and the economic research surrounding tokenization. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has announced that the symposium will be accessible via livestream, and registration forms for attendance will be made available on its official website in late 2023.

It’s worth noting that the OCC has maintained a cautious stance on banks’ involvement with cryptocurrencies, as indicated in its interpretive letters. At the beginning of 2023, the OCC, along with two other regulatory bodies overseeing banks, issued a joint statement advising banks to exercise caution due to potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

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In March 2023, the OCC took steps to adapt to the changing landscape of the banking industry by establishing the Office of Financial Technology. This new initiative is aimed at expanding the OCC’s technological focus and ensuring it remains up-to-date with the rapidly evolving developments in the financial sector.

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