What is BitLicense?


BitLicense governs firms engaged in virtual currency management, administration, upkeep, storage, holding, issuance, exchange activities, related software development, etc. It was by New York State in reply to the Mt.Gox bankruptcy in 2013 to safeguard clients and the security of the financial sector as a whole (keep in mind that not all cryptocurrency exchanges adhere to KYC policies to the letter).

Investment managers of funds with an emphasis on digital assets have additional responsibility. They not only try to stay on top of federal and state securities regulations but also actively anxiously await new rules with the help of their legal counsel to ensure their fund’s compliance over the long term. As a result, investors in Bitcoin and other digital assets are at a unique disadvantage because they must follow a complex system of regulations, complicating the already challenging process of creating funds and managing investments. 

Managers who operate in New York or accept New York owners must meet an appropriate level of adherence and ostensibly prohibitive legal standards. The BitLicense, which initially came into being in 2015, was created due to New York’s attempt to impose more substantial regulation. A BitLicense is now necessary for any digital money business managing investments from New York residents or functioning in New York. An overview of frequently asked inquiries on BitLicense is available on the FAQ website.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • What is BitLicense?
  • Requirements Of BitLicense?
  • Why do you need BitLicense?
  • BitLicense Implication On Overall Crypto?
  • Providing Assistance to Clients in Navigating BitLicense Criteria and Difficulties
  • BitLcense Alternatives

What is BitLicense?

The New York State’s Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) issues BitLicense, a groundbreaking cryptocurrency legislation, as a business license for virtual currency activities.

The first BitLicense was released in 2015 to mixed reactions since many people thought the requirements were overly onerous and that bitcoin firms have stricter controls than traditional financial institutions. Even now, BitLicense is still a concern for many people in the blockchain industry. Some critics claim that the State of New York has put up-and-coming financial advisers between a cliff and a hard place, discouraging any new companies from setting up shop there unless these managers have huge money and a lot of perseverance.

After receiving numerous objections and objections, New York regulators finally adopted a more “lenient” model on June 25, 2020, enabling potential licensees to interact with an active BitLicense holder to get specialized advice on the architecture, capital, systems, and staff needs. Made these modifications to utilize the experience of an existing license holder to help overcome “real or perceived difficulties” in getting the BitLicense. However, there is no assurance that a license holder with an active license will possess the time or motivation to guide a candidate through the demanding procedure.

Furthermore, the cost of applying for the license, legal expenses, and obligations could total up to $100,000 or more for the applicant. New York has seen cryptocurrency beginning to leave the state and move to other municipalities as pleasanter and more aware of the emerging manager’s limitations to massive volumes of cash reserves and internal workforce at launch. However, this is because it is difficult for a starting-to-emerge manager to obtain a BitLicense, and as a result, New York has seen cryptocurrency beginning to leave the state and move there.

Requirements Of BitLicense?

Anyone engaged in the following activities must get a BitLicense following the Department of Financial Services regulations for cryptocurrency economic activity (published in the state’s State Register on June 24, 2015; see).

  • We are transmitting virtual currency.
  • We are retaining ownership or control of virtual currency on account of others by storing, holding, or managing it.
  • You are purchasing and reselling digital currency for the benefit of clients.
  • We are exchanging goods and services for a client.
  • We are managing, distributing, or creating a virtual currency.
  • Be aware that BitLicense does not relate to those who trade or buy with Bitcoin or businesses that accept it.

Why do you need BitLicense?

According to the BitLicense laws, if you keep possession or control in place of others, you must have a license for New York fund managers. As a fund manager, you often have the final say in decisions made in the name of the fund and its clients, control over trades made, and ultimate custody of the fund’s resources and client capital. You will also possess the monitored assets as the fund manager, making it necessary for the manager to have both a public speech and a private address to trade the maintained assets.

Some claim that because the curator will have ownership of the private key if you are merely buying and selling bitcoins, you are exempt from New York’s BitLicense. That only applies particularly to the resources when they are in the custody of such a custodian. As mentioned above, no fund manager can typically purchase or sell virtual currencies on an interaction or other framework without owning or having access to the private keys. At this point, the supervisor or limited manager must know about and have a copy of the private keys, at which point the financial adviser now has custody of them.

Furthermore, many exempt offerings choose to hold the cryptocurrency investments themselves through wallets, cold storage, or on the exchange, establishing the accompanying private keys. That results consider having custody over those cryptocurrency assets. So this is due to the decentralized nature of the crypto space and the various interactions.

BitLicense Implication On Overall Crypto

During the 45 days for public input that followed DFS administrator Ben Lawsky’s official introduction of the BitLicense draught, the DFS received more than 3,000 official comments. A presentation from Coinbase summarizes the viewpoint of the sector. There is no reason to subject a developing industry to requirements far higher than those mandated by current state and federal legislation for money transmitters. However, it is essential to remember that Coinbase got BitLicense from the NYSDFS in 2017.

Although the restrictions intend to allow cryptocurrency businesses to operate in a regulated environment supported by the state, many entrepreneurs found the legislation unworkable for regulatory and merely financial reasons. Only nine companies currently hold the BitLicense: BitPay, Square, Xapo, Genesis Global Trading, itBit, bitFlyer USA, Coinbase, Ripple, and Circle. So this is because the setting that allowed business groups to work in the state of New York completely stopped doing so. Additionally, Gemini and Paxos have special rights for cryptocurrency transactions. The well-known businesses declined to apply for a license: Kraken, Korbit, Poloniex, Bitfinex, LocalBitcoins, and Genesis Mining.

DFS Supervisor Maria T. Vullo mentioned the benefits of BitLicense, a process requiring licensing crypto businesses. During a survey on measures to keep the industry stable at the annual Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS). They noted that it significantly influenced the development of the crypto world. At the same time, many cryptocurrency world members believe these legislative restrictions are unjustified and would hinder the growth of businesses.

Providing Assistance to Clients in Navigating BitLicense Criteria and Difficulties

We need BitLcensee to conduct “virtual currency economic activity” engaging New York and its citizens. The New York Department of Financial Services has established rules that define “virtual currency business activity” as any of the following:

(1) Accepting virtual currency for distribution or conveying virtual currency, unless for non-financial reasons and only involves a small quantity of money that we transfer;

(2) Keeping custody or control over virtual cash on another person’s behalf;

(3) Operating a customer business of buying and selling virtual money;

(4) Offering exchange services to customers in a business capacity; or

(5) Managing, controlling, or distributing a virtual currency.

BitLcense Alternatives

Early in 2018, the New York State Assembly recommended drafting The New York Bitcoin Exchange Act to replace BitLicense (A9899). The new law prohibits licensing fees for the operation of the services of such cryptocurrency organizations. In addition, it allows third-party depositories to verify the operation of cryptocurrency companies.

Ron Kim, the author of A9899, claims that all prior efforts to start regulating the cryptocurrency market in the United States have put obstacles in the way of businesses looking to grow. Nevertheless, it continues operating in the virtual currency sector (note that, as of right now, a company needs to pay a $5,000 application fee, which is not refundable in the event of rejection).

Does exist a substitute for BitLicense? Actually, no. Not because the American system is perfect but because the regulation’s underlying rationale is sound. Any crypto regulation’s aim, which should govern, adjudicate disputes, and administer, is its most crucial component. Moreover, the reason for their existence must be apparent to crypto participants. Only until all participants in the cryptocurrency market are aware of the need for such regulations will the industry be able to grow and operate effectively.

Summing Up

Crypto firms should unquestionably keep accurate financial records and offer an external audit of their financial accounts. In the same spirit, it makes sense to document internal procedures, safeguard customer property, and ensure that every staff knows how they operate. So this is what BitLicense ultimately demands.

Small cryptocurrency players and entrepreneurs will find it challenging to implement all of Bitlicense’s recommendations while also covering the application price. These restrictions force these startups to hunt for another location for their cryptocurrency-related operations. Based on this research, we can conclude that cryptocurrency regulation is valuable and essential for setting up the crypto business for a long and pleasant existence. The only thing left is to create and put into place the proper regulatory framework that will protect the interests of market participants while also not impeding the market’s growth as a whole. The industry now has the desired transparency thanks to the crypto regulation. Every day, the CER Team focuses on openness.

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