OCC’s Brian Brooks: The future of finance is online, it’s inevitable

Brooks sees the migration of the current financial system to the web as “inevitable”: banks must be prepared for this new world.

The outgoing leader of the US Office of the Comptroller of the Bitcoin Bank Currency is convinced that the future of finance is native on blockchain, according to a Wednesday conversation with crypto analytics firm Elliptic.

Described by Elliptic CEO Simone Maini as “a godfather of the crypto industry,” Brian Brooks has been a guiding light in US crypto policy since replacing Comptroller Joseph Otting in May 2020.

Yesterday, he outlined views following an opinion piece published by the Financial Times on Tuesday

Specifically, Brooks took the opportunity to promote his vision of an OCC that monitors responsible behaviour by algorithms instead of bankers:

“Imagine a world where we license software instead of individuals.”

The vision aligns with Brooks’ overall work to advance a national registry for non-depository financial institutions, dubbed by detractors a “non-bank registry.” In more general terms, the Acting Comptroller sees technological change as inevitable, so he is trying to prepare an appropriate regulatory framework:

“In my view, it is inevitable that the future of finance will come on the internet, as information did 25 years ago, and we need to prepare banks and bank registries for this world.”

Describing the recent political deplatforming by social media and payment processors as “chilling,” Brooks said:

“Crypto means freedom. There is no CEO to ban from platforms. If you didn’t think freedom was important last week, you should today.”

However, Brooks confirmed what has long been suspected. His tenure on the OCC will end with the impending arrival of the Biden administration. “There will be another Comptroller and it won’t be me,” he announced.

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