Binance, one of the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges, has reportedly hired former Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks as the chief executive of its U.S. affiliate Binance.US. Brooks is set to assume the new role beginning May 1.
From May 2020 to January 2021, Brooks served in the Donald Trump administration as the lead of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that is charged with supervising and regulating national banks and federal savings groups. In that time, Brooks saw the organization provide relatively friendly regulatory clarification around cryptocurrencies.
“During his time at the OCC, Mr. Brooks was dubbed the ‘CryptoComptroller’ on social media for his friendly attitude toward digital currencies,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Under his watch, the OCC released guidance clarifying that banks could provide cryptocurrency custody services and use stablecoins to facilitate payment activities, moves that made it easier for traditional financial institutions to get into crypto.”
The OCC declaration around traditional banks offering cryptocurrency custody, which came in July 2020, was a significant indicator that attitudes around Bitcoin were changing.
“The U.S. government has been wary of digital currencies from the very beginning, but it appears their views are changing, and that can only be good for adoption,” Nick Neuman, the CEO of Bitcoin custody group Casa, wrote for Bitcoin Magazine at the time. “Using a bank to custody coins makes sense for new users wanting to dip their toe into the world of Bitcoin. People immediately gain the peace of mind that a bank brand confers, and this is especially important for those who have always been interested in the concept of Bitcoin, but who never invested because they worried that digital currencies were unsafe or untrustworthy.”
Brooks has formerly served as the chief legal officer of major U.S. bitcoin exchange Coinbase. It stands to reason that in his upcoming role with Binance.US, he will help the exchange take advantage of or possibly propel additional Bitcoin-friendly regulations.