Digital currencies need same protections as financial institutions

February 9, 2022

Digital ledger technology allows many industries to innovate, but must come with consumer protections, CUNA wrote to the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday. CUNA also reiterated its call for Congress to allow credit unions to offer regulated digital asset services.

“Congress should explore ways to regulate the delivery of financial services using digital currencies to ensure that consumers are protected in the same way if they received financial services from a financial institution,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, Congress should look for ways enable credit unions and other financial institutions to provide digital asset related services, so that these services can be properly overseen by Federal regulators.”

CUNA also notes that—while credit unions are subject to significant consumer protection and safety and soundness regulations—many of the crypto and digital currency sectors operate outside of these safeguards.

“[T]he fundamental innovation of cryptocurrency is the elimination of the financial intermediary,” the letter reads. “Unfortunately, when there is no financial intermediary, the functions that they provide also are lost, presenting users of this technology with significant risk: just ask bitcoin owners who have lost or forgotten their digital wallet password.”

CUNA sent a similar letter Tuesday to the House Financial Services Committee.