On 22 July 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (a US based regulator) issued an ‘interpretive letter’ stating that National Banks in the US are able to provide cryptocurrency custody services and also provide banking services to cryptocurrency businesses.
While this seems a run of the mill type letter, it is just one example of the many small steps being taken by government regulators throughout the world to normalise the use of cryptocurrencies.
When I think back to 2018, a year where regulatory concerns were front and centre, and compare it to where we are now, it is night and day as they say. Regulators have understood the need to devote some resources to understanding cryptocurrencies and to clarify how existing laws will apply to them.
The gradually, then suddenly headline to this post refers to how I feel about the crypto markets and mainstream adoption at this stage in 2020. I think we are in the very late ‘Gradually’ stage. There are many pointers to this : the improving regulatory environment ; the technology advances; the weakening of the traditional system; the adoption by institutions (gradually); and the development of institutional grade on-ramps and trading platforms. These and many other developments give me a sense that the balance of 2020 will be a good time for the crypto markets.
I attach the interpretive letter here. The background section, which set out the properties of fiat money and cryptocurrencies is one of the best I have seen.