Brian T. Moynihan – the CEO of Bank of America – recently confirmed that the company will not be offering crypto-related services in the near future. Though he acknowledged the importance of digital payments in today’s economy, he claimed that regulatory roadblocks prevent the bank from foraying deeper into the industry.
A Hostile Regulatory Climate
Speaking with Yahoo Finance at the World Economic Forum on Saturday, Moynihan was asked about what Bank of America “may or may not” do with cryptocurrencies going forwards.
“We can’t do it,” the CEO replied. “By regulation, we’re not really allowed to engage.”
Regulatory challenges have become a running theme for the US crypto industry. Whether due to concerns around the issuance of a given token (ex. Ripple) or the lending practices of certain platforms (ex. Coinbase), blockchain businesses everywhere remain leery of when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may strike next.
Things would be easier if the private sector knew which cryptocurrencies and tokens are classified as illegal securities, but that isn’t entirely clear at the moment. That’s why US President Joe Biden issued an executive order in March to help organize research and development for regulatory frameworks around the digital asset space.
Furthermore, Senator Cynthia Lummis is soon to unveil a bill seeking to neatly organize the regulatory classifications of digital assets, and the purview of federal entities.
Until such legislation passes, however, Bank of America will stick to writing mere research reports on the crypto market. Products like cryptocurrency bank accounts are off the table for now.
SEC chairman Gary Gensler has previously encouraged crypto trading platforms to proactively speak with the commission about their practices to negotiate a solution. However, Moynihan claims it isn’t that simple.
“They’ve said ‘you have to ask us before you do it – and by the way, don’t ask’,” explained the CEO.
No Concern for the Company
Despite legal difficulties, Moynihan isn’t worried that the bank may be missing out on the “next big thing.” Rather, his business is primarily focused on helping consumers have a successful financial life through effective investments.
That said, the bank has already filed hundreds of patents related to blockchain technology. A market report last October claimed that the crypto industry had grown too large to ignore, while another in January posited that Solana could become the Visa of crypto.
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