Press Release

September 22, 2015

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691


NYDFS BitLicense is First Comprehensive Regulatory Framework for Firms Dealing in Virtual Currency Such as Bitcoin

BitLicense Includes Key Consumer Protection, Anti-money Laundering, Cyber Security Rules to Help Safeguard Customer Funds and Root Out Illicit Activity

Anthony J. Albanese, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services, announced today that the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has approved Circle Internet Financial’s BitLicense application – making it the first company to receive a BitLicense from NYDFS. The BitLicense – which NYDFS finalized in June 2015 – is the first comprehensive regulatory framework for firms dealing in virtual currency such as Bitcoin, and includes key consumer protection, anti-money laundering compliance, and cyber security guidelines.

Acting Superintendent Albanese said: “Issuing the first BitLicense is an important milestone in the long-term development of the virtual currency industry. Putting in place rules of the road that help protect consumers from loss or theft and root out illicit activity is vital to building trust in this new financial technology. We will continue to move forward on evaluating and approving additional BitLicenses.”

In June 2015, NYDFS published its final BitLicense rules after a nearly two-year inquiry into the appropriate regulatory guidelines for virtual currency firms. Under those rules, existing virtual currency firms had until August 10, 2015 to apply for a license. To date, NYDFS has received 25 BitLicense applications.

Additional Background/Timeline on the NYDFS BitLicense

  • In August 2013, NYDFS launched an inquiry into the appropriate regulatory guidelines for virtual currencies.
  • In January 2014, NYDFS held public hearings  on that virtual currency regulation.
  • In July 2014, NYDFS issued its proposed BitLicense regulatory framework for public comment.
  • In December 2014, NYDFS outlined an updated BitLicense framework that incorporated feedback from the first round of public comments. The updated proposal contained a series of changes and clarifications, including the creation of a two-year transitional BitLicense to assist start ups. NYDFS also invited public comments on the updated framework.
  • In June 2015, NYDFS published its final BitLicense rules and invited applications from virtual currency firms.
  • In September 2015, NYDFS approved the first BitLicense application (Circle Internet Financial).