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Rep. Maxine Waters Proves to be Most Formidable Crypto Critic for the US Market

The Biden administration is preparing for its move into the White House, and well known politician and crypto opponent Representative Maxine Waters is striking while the iron is hot. The Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee believes that regulations have been too lenient on the industry this year. Even before President Elect Joe Biden moves in formally, Waters is strongly urging the incoming administration to rescind rules and statements made by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) this year that largely benefit crypto businesses in the US market.

The OCC has made several crypto-friendly announcements and clarifications with regards to regulations this year, including banks being allowed to hold and manage crypto assets back in July. This was followed by the news that US banks are allowed to hold their reserves in stablecoins, and shortly after, a raise of the fundraising limit for crypto-related startups. The most recent one is still up for debate, as the OCC proposes a blanket ban on US banks discriminating against businesses from the crypto sector as a whole.

Waters takes issue with the OCC overstepping its boundaries and its misuse of authority to provide “a national bank charter to non-bank fintech or payment companies”, according to a letter she wrote to Biden. 

Since the Obama administration, the OCC has given special provisions to the fintech sector. The OCC has seen a change in leadership thrice in the past eight years, but this has remained unchanged during the same period of time. From Thomas Curry, Joseph Otting to the current comptroller Brian Brooks, the OCC has remained friendly to companies in the sector.

US financial regulators are tightening their grips around the crypto industry, increasingly stifling business growth all multiple fronts. Recently, the House Democrats put forth a draft bill which would outlaw the unregistered issuance of USD-pegged stablecoins in the US. This would apply to existing and new stablecoins, which includes Facebook’s Libra, rumoured to be releasing its USD-backed stablecoin in January 2021.

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