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18th February 2024 > > US banks are coming.


The US banks are coming for their slice of the crypto pie.

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Market Wrap

Well, well, well. The ETFs didn’t buy yesterday as they trade 5/7 US hours whilst BTC markets are 24/7 all hours. So, we retraced back below $51k before recovering again. This price action might repeat today. Will we see a pump again at Asian open tomorrow morning in advance of the relentless ETF driven appetite for BTC?

Surely, it’s not that easy to make money every Monday morning?

Curious Cryptos’ Commentary – US banks want in on the action

Aside from market-making desks, US banks have little involvement in the crypto industry. And all because of one man and his anti-crypto crusade – Gary Gensler, Chair of the SEC, whose reputation in the crypto world is somewhat tarnished.

In March 2022, the SEC issued an accounting ruling known as SAB 121 (Staff Accounting Bulletin) which was highly prejudiced against cryptos. This ruling stated that banks offering custodial crypto services must hold those cryptos on its balance sheet, hence requiring more capital, and increasing costs for banks. This treatment is completely at odds with the accounting treatment for all other asset custodial services. The only motivation must have been to make it too costly for banks to participate in the crypto revolution.

Following Gensler’s public shaming by being called “arbitrary and capricious” by a judge last year – a powerful statement that forced the SEC into approving spot BTC ETFs – once again this regulator is under pressure to act in a more even-handed manner.

A coalition of lobbying groups have demanded a change to SAB 121, stating that it is preventing their involvement in the nascent BTC ETF business. According to Bloomberg:

“Powerful interest groups are pushing the SEC to tweak accounting guidance that makes it more expensive for US banks to hold digital assets for their customers.

The regulator is already facing pressure from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to repeal the guidance.”

Bi-partisan support for crypto adoption? I never thought we would see the day.

When this rule gets changed (the banks are a powerful cohort and they will get their way) there will be two key ramifications.

There will be greater adoption of BTC ETFs as part of clients’ investment portfolios, both retail and institutions, as banks will be able to offer crypto custodial services, and will therefore include crypto products in the design of portfolios. For now, they have no motivation to do so.

The other interesting development will be the opportunity for banks to play a greater role in the tokenisation revolution that is set to democratise the financial services industry.

This one small accounting change will have an outsize impact on the pace of global crypto adoption.

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