Crypto Startup Metal Pay Files for National Bank Charter

Crypto Startup Metal Pay Files for National Bank Charter

Peer-to-peer crypto payments platform Metal Pay has filed to become a national bank in the U.S.

The startup filed a charter application for “First Blockchain Bank and Trust, N.A.” with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Feb. 3, CEO Marshall Hayner told CoinDesk. Its trust company would be incorporated in Rapid City, S.D.

Metal Pay will shortly file applications with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Hayner said.

Favorable crypto banking guidance has sparked an inflow of industry charter applications in the past two months, with Paxos, BitPay and now Metal Pay all seeking OCC approval. Last month, Anchorage became the first crypto firm to obtain conditional approval for a national trust charter.

But Hayner said Metal Pay is the first to pursue “full” banking licensure. It wants to accept cash deposits alongside the crypto, and it wants those cash deposits to be insured by the FDIC.

“This would be the first FDIC-insured crypto bank,” Hayner said, adding depository insurance would give First Blockchain a leg up in banking institutional clients. That insurance would only apply to cash deposits, however.

The application will now enter a 30-day public comment period before it can proceed for consideration. Hayner expects OCC to render a decision within four months.

It is possible that a new OCC chief will be installed by then. Former Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, a former Coinbase lawyer, left the regulator toward the end of the Trump Administration. President Biden is said to be interested in nominating a similarly pro-crypto Comptroller in Michael Barr.