The Federal Reserve released formal guidelines this afternoon to oversee the process by which “institutions offering new types of financial products or with novel charters” could be granted so-called “master accounts,” a key financial status that allows for direct payments with and access to, the Fed. All federally-chartered banks possess a master account.
The Fed’s 49-page ‘Final Guidance’ mentions the word "cryptocurrency" only once when discussing the sort of novel institutions that may seek master accounts under these guidelines. But the subtext of today’s announcement is inextricably linked to the crypto industry.
“The new guidelines provide a consistent and transparent process to evaluate requests for Federal Reserve accounts and access to payment services in order to support a safe, inclusive, and innovative payment system," Fed vice chair Lael Brainard said in a statement.
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