The WSJ has reported that Coinbase has been meeting with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an independent department of the US Department of Treasury that regulates national banks, in order to discuss getting a bank license. Coinbase acquiring a bank license would allow the company to diversify its product offerings as well as bypass partnerships with banks. This move would allow customers to be served directly by Coinbase, with out using an established bank as a middle man. Most of the largest banks have put a block on cryptocurrency purchases with credit cards, leaving consumers frustrated and looking for other solutions.
Another benefit of Coinbase operating under a bank license would include the ability to work with large institutional investors who are looking to invest huge amounts. Coinbase has been looking to attract institutional investors with their recent launch of suite products.
Coinbase obtaining a banking license would mean the company would have to operate under tighter regulations and scrutiny. Most cryptocurrency exchanges are already operating under the watchful eye of the SEC and CFTC. A banking license would most likely force Coinbase to reevaluate and redesign its business model, and follow a new set of strict rules as well.
Coinbase has not confirmed the meetings or made any announcements regarding the matter. A spokesperson for the company said the firm is committed to cooperating with state and federal regulators to ensure the site is properly licensed to perform the services it offers. The OCC declined to comment on the same.