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New York Extends Comment Period for BitLicense Proposal

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on August 21, 2014 at 18:46 GMT

New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) superintendent Benjamin M Lawsky has extended the comment period for the BitLicense proposal by an additional 45 days.

The agency cited the large volume of input from various sources, including prominent members of the bitcoin community, as the primary reason to double the comment period. The NYDFS announced the move on its official website, moving the final deadline to 21st October.

The notice cited requests from the bitcoin community, which included grassroots supporters and the Bitcoin Foundation, as a driver of the deadline change. The agency also noted the potentially significant impact of the BitLicense proposal on the broader bitcoin market as another reason for the extension, saying:

“There has been a significant amount of public interest in and commentary on DFS' proposed regulatory framework for virtual currency firms. A number of groups and individuals have also requested additional time to study the proposal given that it is the first of its kind and could potentially serve as a model for other jurisdictions.”

Comments from across the industry

Beyond the formal requests to extend the comment deadline, numerous business and community leaders have weighed in on the issue.

By and large, many in the bitcoin industry see the BitLicense proposal as an inhibitor rather than an promotor of the digital currency’s success. Other observers, however, see the BitLicense as a step forward for bitcoin’s legal and financial legitimacy on the global stage.

The strongest language yet has come from Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, who noted in a blog post that his company would refuse to do business with New York customers should it be required to comply with the proposed regulations. At the time, he noted Circle is “not alone” as it considers the downsides of the BitLicense.

Criticism of the BitLicense has come from beyond US shores as well. This week, the CEOs of China’s three largest bitcoin exchanges – OKCoin, Huobi and BTC China – submitted an open letter to the NYDFS, saying that the proposal risks hurting bitcoin abroad as well as in the United States.

Comments from the Digital Chamber of Commerce and a team from George Mason University, have also been submitted during the ongoing review period.

More to follow.

Statue of Liberty image via Shutterstock

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