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NYDFS Head Lacewell to Depart Agency by Month's End

Linda Lacewell announced a revamp of NYDFS's BitLicense last year.

Aug 13, 2021 at 6:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:40 p.m. UTC

New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Superintendent Linda Lacewell will leave the financial regulator on Aug. 24, she announced Friday.

Citing New York's upcoming change in governorship, Lacewell said it was "time for me to move on and make way for new leadership."

Current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation earlier this week, after an investigation by the New York Attorney General found he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women. New York's Lt. Governor, Kathy Hochul, will take on the role after Cuomo formally steps down after next week.

Lacewell has worked for Cuomo as his chief of staff and counselor, and Cuomo nominated the former prosecutor to head New York's financial regulatory agency in 2019.

During her tenure at NYDFS, Lacewell revamped the agency's crypto regulatory licensure, streamlining its efforts to license virtual currency companies in the state and making it somewhat easier for businesses to list different tokens for trading.

Businesses can partner with the State University of New York or an already-licensed exchange to try and secure a conditional BitLicense, while already-licensed businesses can self-certify cryptocurrencies maintained on the agency's "green list."

The rate of BitLicense approvals also increased in 2018 and 2019, as Lacewell took office.

"We modernized our approach to virtual currency business licensing and coin issuance, and we welcomed numerous new entrants, including global financial institutions. Responsible innovation is the key to building back better, and regulators have a responsibility to provide the regulatory guardrails and necessary guidance to protect both the emerging industry and consumers," she said in a public note on Friday.

UPDATE (Aug. 13, 2021, 18:50 UTC): Adds additional context.

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