Banks Shouldn’t ‘Punish’ Crypto Industry, Republican Senators Urge

An increasing regulatory crackdown on banks serving crypto industry players may be “punishing an entire industry,” four Republican Senators have said in a letter to multiple U.S. regulators.

Discouraging the crypto sector could exceed regulators’ mandate and resembles “Operational Choke Point,” a previous crackdown on legal gun vendors made via regulation of the financial system, the letter, dated March 9, said.

“We are especially worried that overreaching behavior by the banking regulators will inevitably bleed into other legal industries,” said the letter to Jerome Powell of the Federal Reserve, Michael Hsu of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, and Marty Gruenberg of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “Any industry could be potentially ‘disfavored,’ based on a given regulator’s ideological perspective.”

“The problems of the few should not drive the harm of many,” Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) said, noting that revelations of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme did not lead to banks cutting off other asset managers. “Regulators should not be punishing an entire industry.”

They asked for a response by March 24.

On Jan. 3, the three regulators warned they would take a “careful and cautious” approach to banks’ interactions with crypto companies following a spate of collapses. Two days ago, Silvergate, a bank with heavy exposure to the sector, declared it would undergo voluntary liquidation.