The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an independent office of the U.S. Treasury Department that oversees the country’s national commercial banks, will host a symposium on tokenization in February 2024.
The symposium aims to start a public dialogue about the transformative potential of the tokenization of real-world financial assets and liabilities. The event will especially focus on laying the foundations for “responsible innovation”. In a press release, Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu highlights the emerging divide between cryptocurrencies and the tokenization of real-world assets and liabilities:
“Cryptocurrencies are driven by the promise of speculative profits; the space continues to be marked by rampant scams, fraud and hacks, and struggles to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. In contrast, tokenization is driven by solving real-world settlement problems and can easily be developed in a secure and robust manner and fully comply with anti-money laundering regulations.”
The symposium will include keynote remarks by Hyun Song Shin, economic advisor and head of research at the Bank for International Settlements. Discussions will explore the legal foundations of tokens, tokenization use cases, risk management considerations, and economic research on tokenization.
The OCC says it will livestream the event and post-registration forms later in 2023 on its website.
The OCC has consistently discouraged banks from engaging with cryptocurrencies through its interpretive letters. In early 2023, it joined two other banking regulatory agencies in issuing a collective statement warning banks about the potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
In March 2023, the agency announced the creation of its Office of Financial Technology, which it said will expand the OCC’s technology focus and help it stay abreast of rapid developments in the banking industry.