Former Coinbase lawyer to head up US bank regulator

The current Comptroller of the Currency in the United States, Joseph Otting, is set to step down  as head of the US bank regulator at the end of May, after announcing his retirement. 

This would make his current deputy, Brian Brooks, acting Comptroller until President Donald Trump appoints a permanent replacement. 

The office was first established in 1863 to charter, regulate and supervise all national banks and federal licensed branches of foreign banks in the US, and Brooks’ temporary accession to it will be welcomed by many in the cryptocurrency community. 

In a previous life, Brooks served as the chief legal officer of Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. 

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Since moving from the private to the public sector two months ago, Brooks has already extolled the virtues of and opportunities afforded by cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology. 

Most notably, the incumbent temporary Comptroller signalled his support for a charter that would establish a national regime for the licensing of cryptocurrency and other fintech companies, rather than the current system which requires firms to obtain money services business licenses on a state-by-state basis. 

Brooks is certainly an establishment figure, having advised for Fannie Mae and served as vice chairman of OneWest Bank, which was itself founded by the man who appointed him, the current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

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