New York’s BitLicense debuted in 2015 to mixed reviews. Many found the regulation to be too cumbersome and felt that crypto startups were being subjected to more onerous regulations than regular financial institutions. Others defended it on the grounds that it was necessary to protect consumers and help the crypto industry mature.
In action, the BitLicense was quick to change the landscape of New York’s crypto world. While the NYDFS received 22 applications in its first round, 15 companies also ceased operations in the state after the regulation was implemented. Five years later, only 25 entities carry the NYDFS stamp of approval.
CoinDesk has been following the journey of New York’s crypto regulation since the state began considering it seven years ago. What follows is a detailed timeline of events surrounding the infamous regulation, from the first signs of New York’s desire to regulate virtual currencies to the latest developments and license recipients.
- Nov. 14, 2013: New York State considers issuing BitLicenses to bitcoin businesses and plans to hold public hearings on virtual currency regulations in New York City. (link)
- March 11, 2014: New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issues public order that it will begin considering proposals for regulating virtual currency exchanges. (See also: NYDFS)
- March 16, 2016: Up to 21 bitcoin startups await formal NYDFS confirmation as processing drags on. (link)
- Nov. 2, 2016: Theo Chino continues his fight against New York’s regulation around bitcoin, announcing plans to help the city’s bodegas accept the cryptocurrency. (link)
- June 20, 2017: NYDFS starts inspecting the operations of bitcoin startups serving customers in the state. (link)
- Feb. 7, 2018: NYDFS pushes crypto firms to strengthen fraud controls. (link)
- Feb. 21, 2018: New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim proposes a bill to replace the BitLicense regulation. (link)
- Feb. 23, 2018: New York senators hold a roundtable to revisit BitLicense and later announce an upcoming bill to reform the licensing framework. (link)
- April 12, 2018: NYDFS Superintendent Maria Vullo defends the BitLicense at the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. (link)
- April 10, 2019: Seattle-based crypto exchange Bittrex’s application for a license is rejected by NYDFS. The regulator cites the exchange’s insufficient anti-money laundering measures as one of the reasons. (link) (See Also: NYDFS)
See also: NYDFS: Why We Rejected Bittrex’s Application for a BitLicense
- June 21, 2019: The New York Senate confirms acting NYDFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell to the role. (link)
- June 24, 2020: NYDFS announces it is finalizing its proposed guidance from December, streamlining the coin listing process for licensed exchanges. The regulator is also releasing new guidance and documentation to assist applicants; letting applicants receive conditional BitLicenses if they partner with already-licensed entities; and signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the State University of New York, allowing crypto startups to visit any of the university’s 64 campuses to seek assistance. (link)
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.