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If confirmed, Michael Barr would be the second appointee to the OCC with crypto experience.
Reports emerging from the Wall Street Journal say that the new American president Joe Biden appears ready to appoint a former crypto executive into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). According to the report, President Biden would be nominating Michael Barr, who at one time served as a member of the board at Ripple.
The report also identified that President Biden considered appointing Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California for the position.
If confirmed, Barr would be the second appointee to have crypto experience. However, WSJ said they were unable to confirm this story from the White House or The Treasury Department.
President Biden’s team is also likely going to include another individual with a pro-crypto view. Gary Gensler is appointed as the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Gensler is renowned for his knowledge and positive disposition towards decentralization and digitization of finance. He has also served as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) previously.
OCC Had a Pro-crypto Outlook under Brooks
Barr would be succeeding Brian Brooks, who resigned from his position as the acting Comptroller of the currency. Brooks is a former Coinbase executive and he spent eight months in this office. During his time in office, his policies had a pro-crypto outlook.
Brooks has been widely regarded as a friend to the crypto industry and during his little stint as the acting head of the federal agency, he has looked to carry out reforms that favor the crypto industry.
In May, he had proposed federal licensing for fintech startups. His proposal was looking to put an end to the current system where crypto exchange firms had to be licensed by each state before they were allowed to do business.
Through this reform, crypto firms only needed a federal license for their businesses.
Not only that, but Brooks has also shown his commitment to making the banking industry embrace cryptocurrency and its services. His office had published a letter in July in which he recommended that the traditional banks should also offer crypto custody services. The office further announced in September that these banks are also free to offer their services to issuers of stablecoins.
Brooks has drawn criticism from US congressmen who had expressed consternation for the OCC’s pro-crypto outlook since he took over.
According to WSJ, the OCC is one of the most powerful banking regulators in the country. The agency oversees the operations of national banks.
Thus, anyone in charge of the agency would be tasked with overseeing the works of bank supervisors who are in the different banking institutions in the country. Invariably, such an individual becomes a very powerful regulator of the industry.