Capital markets News

Major US banking regulator OCC warms to tokenization

tokenization digital assets

The acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu has made supportive comments about tokenization. He made the observations when announcing a 2024 symposium on the topic.

Hsu is a crypto skeptic who slowed down some of the stablecoin rule relaxations that his predecessor made for banks.

“There is an emerging divide between crypto and the tokenization of real-world assets and liabilities,” said Acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu. “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. I look forward to a fulsome discussion on these topics with a range of experts in the field.”

We reported in June that we believe the Comptroller has given the go ahead to JP Morgan to participate in the Partior cross border payments network.

However, Hsu is usually scathing about permissionless public blockchains. He previously stated, “Today, trusted blockchains are better positioned than public blockchains to facilitate that growth at scale.” But he added, “future innovations may reveal that non-blockchain-based systems may prove even better suited to the task.”

The BIS Unified Ledger concept supports tokenization and aims to bring together tokenized digital assetstokenized bank money and CBDC on a shared infrastructure. Notably, the June BIS paper on the topic mentioned neither blockchain or DLT, other than part of a glossary.

The symposium will include Hyun Song Shin, the Head of Research at the BIS. He’s one of the authors of the Unified Ledger report.

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