Vast Bank made the strategic decision to shutter its mobile crypto app and exit the scene after receiving an OCC consent order in Oct. 2023.
Vast Bank, an entity claiming to be the first U.S. banking institution to allow its customers to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies “alongside a traditional checking account,” has shuttered its mobile crypto banking app and declared its intent to exit the cryptocurrency industry.
“To strategically align our operations, effective Wednesday January 31st, 2024, we will be disabling and removing the Vast Crypto Mobile Banking application from Google and Apple, which means your Vast Crypto Mobile Banking account(s), including any Digital Assets held in custody, will be liquidated and closed.”
Vast Bank entered the crypto industry in 2019 and had previously partnered with Coinbase and SAP on the company’s crypto-friendly mobile banking app in 2021. However, according to American Banker, the bank was issued a consent order from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in late 2023.
The OCC order reportedly claims that Vast Bank allegedly engaged in “unsafe or unsound practices” surrounding risk management and control, with the apparent focus being on the institute’s involvement in cryptocurrency.
In November 2023, not long after the OCC order, Vast Bank issued a press release indicating that it was refocusing its efforts on “traditional banking” and would pivot away from crypto:
“Beginning in 2019, Vast added a range of digital banking services such as cryptocurrency to its product mix. … However, the ever-changing and unclear regulatory environment in digital banking coupled with macroeconomic headwinds make future growth more difficult to predict.”
While Vast Bank didn’t specifically cite regulatory uncertainty, many analysts attribute the U.S. banking industry’s general reticence to commit to the cryptocurrency sector on exactly that.
As Cointelegraph recently reported, pro-crypto government officials have been vocal over their opposition to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s purported catch-as-catch-can approach to cryptocurrency regulation.
Chair @GaryGensler’s SAB 121 has virtually blocked banks from serving as custodians of digital assets. Today, @RepWileyNickel, @SenLummis, and I introduced resolutions to repeal @SECGov’s terrible bulletin.
SAB 121’s days are numbered – it’s time for it to go! ️ pic.twitter.com/jTQDdbMm3I
— Rep. Mike Flood (@USRepMikeFlood) February 1, 2024