In the midst of a series of minor regulatory moves by the New York State government regarding cryptocurrency, Genesis Global Trading has been granted a BitLicense by the Department of Financial Services. Genesis is the fifth firm to have been granted a BitLicense since the program’s inception in 2015.
Earlier this week, the state granted authorization to the Gemini Trust Co. exchange to offer Zcash trading options, making Gemini the world’s first licensed Zcash exchange.
The following day, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the launch of a Blockchain Resource Center and a blockchain app development contest.
Just announced at #Consensus2018: NYC is launching new initiatives to support the growing #blockchain industry! The NYC Blockchain Resource Center will serve as a physical hub for the industry and the @nycbigapps competition will be blockchain focused. pic.twitter.com/JcTtagNVqc
— NYCEDC (@NYCEDC) May 14, 2018
It’s possible that the timing of these actions is not entirely coincidental–in some ways, the blockchain industry’s global spotlight has been placed on New York this week because of CoinDesk’s Consensus conference. The NYCEDC’s announcements were actually delivered in a speech at the conference by NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett.
In the same speech, Patchett said that there is“no city in the world that’s better positioned to lead the way in blockchain.”
New York Has a Ways to Go Before Regulations Are Working Appropriately
Indeed, it seems that New York is attempting to take the national lead in developing appropriate cryptocurrency regulations. The BitLicense program is likely the most prominent example of this, although the program has come under criticism for stifling startup growth, among other things.
“For large [companies], the costs [associated with BitLicense acquisition] are coffee money, for a small business the costs are crazy,” Software developer Steve B told CoinDesk in a February report. “The requirements are not practical.”
Earlier this week, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees called the regulation an “absolute failure”, saying that the program “should be removed.” Vorhees added that the fact that only a few firms had received BitLicenses after three years was “pathetic.”
“That’s the rate of innovation in New York,” he retorted. CoinDesk reported that several exchanges have halted operations in New York state, including Shapeshift and Kraken.
— BlockExplorer (@MyBlockExplorer) May 15, 2018
Lawmakers are reportedly already working on reforming the BitLicense program, though it’s unclear when changes will be implemented.