DFS Continues to Advance Responsible Innovation in New York’s Fintech Industry

DFS Continues to Advance Responsible Innovation in New York’s Fintech Industry

Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has approved the applications of Robinhood Crypto LLC, a subsidiary of Robinhood Markets Inc., and Moon Inc., dba LibertyX, for virtual currency licenses. DFS has also approved a money transmission license for Robinhood.

“DFS continues to lead the way in responsibly supervising and advancing innovation in New York’s flourishing financial technology sector through a strong state-based regulatory regime,” said Superintendent Vullo. “Today’s approvals add to the growing list of responsible virtual currency providers who recognize and appreciate how a comprehensive regulatory framework fosters a competitive marketplace that benefits both consumers and industry.”

DFS has authorized Robinhood Crypto to offer services for buying, selling, and storing seven virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Robinhood Crypto’s parent company, Robinhood, allows U.S. based retail/individual customers to trade stocks and options on a commission-free basis through Robinhood Financial.

“We’re delighted that Robinhood Crypto has been granted a virtual currency license and a money transmitter license in New York. This will complement the larger suite of investment services that New Yorkers already have access to on the Robinhood platform. The NYDFS has been very helpful throughout this process, and we look forward to their ongoing guidance as we prepare to launch Robinhood Crypto in New York,” said Vlad Tenev, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Robinhood Markets, Inc.

In New York, LibertyX, which will provide consumers the sale of Bitcoin through debit terminals, is the first DFS virtual currency licensee to allow customers to use debit cards to purchase Bitcoin from traditional ATMs.

Co-Founder & CEO of LibertyX Chris Yim said, “After an extensive review process, we are delighted to receive the blessing of the NYDFS (BitLicense) and offer the first debit card Bitcoin purchasing options to New York State residents.”

Co-Founder & Chairman of LibertyX Kyle Powers said, “LibertyX loves New York bitcoiners. We are excited to bring them an instant way to buy Bitcoin at a nearby location.”

DFS continues to rapidly and responsibly respond to financial services market innovations by licensing technology-based money transmitters under New York’s money transmitter law; online lenders under New York’s banking law; and virtual currency exchanges under New York’s financial services law. To date, DFS has approved sixteen charters or licenses for companies in the virtual currency marketplace.

The approvals granted by DFS today follow a comprehensive and rigorous review of all applications and are subject to significant regulatory conditions all of which will be subject to examination and inspection by DFS examiners as well as independent consultants to ensure that important protections for New York markets and consumers are being met. DFS’s approval is based on stringent requirements including:

  • Implementing monitoring and updating effective risk-based controls and appropriate BSA/AML and OFAC controls to prevent money laundering or terrorist financing;
  • Implementing, monitoring and updating effective risk-based controls to prevent and respond to any potential or actual wrongful use of Bitcoin, including but not limited to its use in illegal activity, market manipulation, or other similar misconduct, as required by DFS’s February 7, 2018, “Guidance on Prevention of Market Manipulation and Other Wrongful Activity”;
  • Complying with DFS’s transaction monitoring and cybersecurity regulations; and
  • Maintaining policies and procedures for consumer protection and to promptly address and resolve customer complaints.

Robinhood and LibertyX are subject to license revocation by DFS, among other regulatory and/or enforcement actions, for failing to comply with any of the provisions of DFS’s approval.

Additional information regarding DFS’s regulation of New York’s virtual currency marketplace can be found here.


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