BitPay Seeks US Bank License

BitPay, a cryptocurrency payments firm, has filed to become a national bank in the U.S., CoinDesk reported, citing a legal notice published Tuesday (Dec. 8).

BitPay has filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to set up a federally regulated bank called the BitPay National Trust Bank, which will be headquartered in Georgia.

The news comes after OCC Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks said earlier this year that he would look into setting up framework to let FinTechs become licensed and streamline their operations in the country, including crypto firms.

Right now, crypto firms and other digital payment startups have to acquire money transmitter licenses in every state and territory they want to operate in, CoinDesk reported, but by becoming a national bank, BitPay could skirt around those requirements.

In a statement to CoinDesk, BitPay said the endeavor “will be subject to strict safety and soundness requirements, which will provide our customers with assurances that our services remain best in class and allow us to be subject to a uniform regulatory framework.”

BitPay’s application said that the total capitalization its national bank would get from shares issued would be just below $12 million, and there would be 120 shares issued, CoinDesk reported.

Brooks’ actions to set up more FinTechs to become licensed received some pushback from opponents who thought the measures were “excessive and de-regulatory,” according to CoinDesk. California Rep. Maxine Waters has petitioned President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration to do away with a number of President Donald Trump-era agency head actions, including Brooks’ crypto actions.

In addition, Rep. Rashida Tlaib has introduced the STABLE Act, which would require stablecoin issuers to obtain bank charters.

In related news, BitPay introduced BitPay Send last month to allow payments to workers, clients, affiliates, suppliers and more with digital currencies. According to CEO Stephen Pair, the program lets companies conduct mass payments easily.