TULSA — Almost exactly a year ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, issued guidance which allowed banks and other regulated financial institutions to essentially hold on to cryptocurrency assets on behalf of their customers.
In January of this year, the OCC issued further clarification, saying that federally chartered banks and thrifts can “validate, store, and record payment transactions by serving as a node on an INVN,” or Independent Node Verification Network.
In plain English, that meant banks could buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies for clients - for example, Bitcoin, or Ethereum.
Tulsa-based Vast Bank immediately began working on doing just that, and the first step was completed just weeks later, on January 27th, 2021.
At the time Vast.bank wrote on its website: “Vast believes it is the first nationally chartered financial institution to both purchase and provide custody services for a digital asset on behalf of a customer and directly from their bank account.”
Now, Vast Chief Information Officer Stephen Taylor tells KRMG the bank is hammering out the final security checks which will allow them to offer fully-integrated accounts for consumers who want the security and reliability of a traditional bank, but also want to engage in the buying, selling, and holding of cryptocurrencies.
In other words, Taylor said Wednesday, “a bank account that you can open online with your mobile app. You’ll have the mobile app, to where you can buy, sell and hold with the mobile app. You’ll be able to get a debit card, so it’ll be fully integrated. You’ll be able to buy and sell with your debit card, you know normal US dollar transactions as well as to be able to use the mobile app to buy and sell crypto. So, (a) fully integrated crypto bank account is what we’ll be launching.”
It’s something no one in the country has done, he tells KRMG.
“We will be the first US, nationally-regulated bank that offers buying and selling crypto integrated completely into the bank account. Yup, we’ll be the first one in the nation.”
Marketing Director Jeremy Cavness says the timeline is still uncertain, but it won’t be long before they’ll begin offering the new service to customers.
“August, September, October - we’re going to be offering direct access, self-service access for customers who are interested. So, it’s this year, it’s coming fast, we’re in the final stages of getting those things built,” Cavness said.
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