New York to Accept Bitcoin-Exchange Proposals to Speed New Rules

Bitcoin Virtual Currency
Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of financial services for New York, announced the move in a statement today, saying his office will propose a set of rules for virtual-currency firms by the end of the second quarter. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

New York financial regulators said they will immediately begin accepting applications to operate exchanges for Bitcoin and other digital currencies to help speed the development of rules for that market.

Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of financial services, announced the move in a statement today, saying his office will propose a set of rules for virtual-currency firms by the end of the second quarter.

The collapse of Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based exchange for Bitcoin, the most popular digital currency, shows the need for “robust standards for consumer protection, cyber security and anti-money laundering compliance,” he said. “We will continue to proceed swiftly and thoughtfully to provide rules of the road for reputable virtual currency firms seeking to conduct business on-shore in a responsible manner.”

Lawsky held hearings in January about how to structure what he is calling a “BitLicense.” Under New York law, the superintendent can issue emergency regulations that take effect immediately, or make a proposal and give interested parties 60 to 90 days to comment.

He said today the “overarching goal is to balance creating appropriate regulatory protections without stifling beneficial innovation in the development of new payments platforms.”

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