Risk & Compliance

New York’s Proposed Bitcoin Rules Yield Protests

Proponents of the virtual currency are dividing into two camps, one opposed to the rules and one in favor.
Iris DorbianJuly 30, 2014
New York’s Proposed Bitcoin Rules Yield Protests

bitcoinNew York’s proposed Bitcoin regulations, which were unveiled by the state’s Department of Financial Services two weeks ago, are drawing mixed reactions from the virtual currency’s champions, reports the New York Times’ DealBook.

Some of the smaller proponents, most of whom hope to benefit from Bitcoin or other virtual currencies in some way, are griping that those with deeper pockets will have an unfair advantage in sussing out the implications of the proposed rules.

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The crypto-currency supporters have drafted a letter airing their complaints that they plan to send to Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York’s top financial regulator, according to the Times.

“Many of us are individuals or small start-ups operating on limited budgets without access to extensive legal resources,” the letter says, according to the Times. “This imposes a substantial burden as we seek to understand the proposed rules and their current and future impacts on our businesses, open-source projects and educational research.”

The letter also reportedly will request that the legislation’s 45-day public comment period, which began on July 23, be extended by an additional 45 days.

So far the letter has attracted 400 signatures, among them notable names in the virtual-currency space, such as Bitcoin investor Barry Silbert and executives from BitPay, a Bitcoin payment processor.

Despite the protesting, there are some interested observers who hail the proposed regulations as “an important step to bringing Bitcoin and other computer-based currencies into the mainstream.”

Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the Times when the regulatory framework was unveiled that it was “a very good thing for Bitcoin. It may end up being one of the most important milestones in the development of Bitcoin.”

The proposed rules are the result of a nearly year-long review in New York. They cover licensing requirements for “virtual-currency companies,” although that term has not yet been defined, as well as consumer protection, anti-money-laundering compliance and cyber security

Source: Proposed Rules Expose Rifts Among Bitcoin Enthusiasts