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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

NYDFS launches virtual currency initiatives

State Issues NYDFS Virtual Currency Licensing

State Issues

On June 24, NYDFS launched several virtual currency initiatives, including a Memorandum of Understanding with the State University of New York to launch a virtual currency program, a proposed conditional licensing framework, final guidance concerning a licensee’s ability to self-certify the use of new coins, and additional resources intended to help virtual currency market participants. Among other things, NYDFS requested comments on the proposed framework, which will allow an entity to apply for a conditional license when partnering with an existing NYDFS-authorized entity to engage in virtual currency business activity during the term of the conditional license. NYDFS seeks comments on, among other things, the types of operational, staffing, and other support the existing licensed entity should provide to the conditional licensee until it is able to obtain a full NYDFS virtual currency license of its own. Comments on the proposed framework are due August 10.

NYDFS also announced final guidance regarding licensees’ ability to self-certify the use of new coins. As previously covered by InfoBytes, last December NYDFS issued proposed guidance regarding coin adoption or listing options for virtual currency licensees. The final guidance provides a framework for entities to create firm-specific policies for the adoption or listing of new coins through self-certification, without NYDFS’s prior approval, and establishes that NYDFS will maintain a list of coins approved for use, and their permitted uses, available for adoption and use by licensees more generally. 

Finally, NYDFS released additional resources, including a notice of NYDFS practices designed to create “a more transparent and timely process” for evaluating virtual currency license applications, as well as new virtual currency-related Frequently Asked Questions that will be updated on an ongoing basis.

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