New York Bitcoin Scene Divided As BitLicense Deadline Looms

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Bitcoin businesses wanting to continue serving New York residents have approximately 24 hours left to file their BitLicense application. The deadline, set for 8th August, marks the end of a45-day grace period following the publication of the BitLicense in the New York State register. Formulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the long-awaited regulatory framework has proved divisive among companies in the space. The question on many people’s lips is: who’s staying and who’s going? With the deadline looming, CoinDesk has spoken to various industry players to find out just how the BitLicense will impact the bitcoin ecosystem. ‘A necessary evil’ New Yorker Jesse Chenard, ‎CEO at bitcoin exchange MonetaGo – which recently launched in 40 countries – confirmed his company submitted its 500-page-long BitLicense application earlier this week.  The lengthy application process – it took MonetaGo’s legal team 30 days to prepare the submission – Chenard said, would constitute a barrier to some startups in the space. Applying for a BitLicense incurs a $5,000 non-refundable fee and companies may also face additional application charges set by the NYDFS. Applicants are also expected to submit a detailed background history of company employees, their financial and legal histories and outline their plans for operating their digital …

Bitcoin Advocates Back Petition for BitLicense Safe Harbor Provision

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More than 70 digital currency industry businesses, executives and advocates are backing a petition that calls for the easing or eradication of allegedly onerous components of New York’s BitLicense proposal. Submitted as part of a recently closed public comment period, the measure has so far garnered support from companies such as Coinbase,Blockstream, BitPay, Circle and Ripple Labs, as well as notable developers and venture capitalists. Overall, the petition seeks to convey the argument that it is “unreasonable” for the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to apply its provisions equally across the industry, arguing that creators of open-source protocols, micropayments providers, security intermediaries and smaller entrepreneurs should be excluded from certain coverage. Penned by Coin Center’s Aaron Wright and Yale Law School’s Elizabeth Stark, the authors are still collecting signatures in an effort to galvanize attention around the issue. Stark told CoinDesk: “The goal here was to bring a substantial part of the community to one proposal as opposed to different proposals so that there’s strength in numbers.” Stark and Wright were inspired to put together the proposal due to what Stark called their shared interest in Internet history and the belief that safe harbor policies such as this played an instrumental …

Fred Wilson on the Proposed Bitlicense Regulations

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Fred Wilson is a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures. USV invests in bitcoin companies, but not the currency itself. Fred is interested in bitcoin because he believes it can be and possibly will be the financial and transactional protocol for the global Internet.  Here, he shares his thoughts on New York State’s revised Bitlicense regulations. Over the past year, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), led by Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, has been attempting to create a set of regulations for virtual currency services. They called this set of regulations the ‘Bitlicense’. I have been following this issue closely and participated in public testimony before the NYDFSback in January 2014 that was a precursor to creating these new regulations. While these regulations will only apply to businesses operating in New York State, they will naturally be a precedent for many other states who seek to regulate virtual currency services and as such, we should consider them a potential framework for all state regulation of virtual currency. The initial proposed Bitlicense regulations were published last year and were subject to a comment period which produced more than 3,700 total comments. The NYDFS did an excellent job of working through those comments and came …