Business 3 January 2019

Paul How

New York State forms crypto task force

More than three years after New York first required cryptocurrency-related businesses to procure a license to operate in the state, the state now want to know how to better regulate the industry.

Towards the end of 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Digital Currency Study bill, “to create a cryptocurrency task force to study how to properly regulate, define and use cryptocurrency,” according to a Facebook post by New York Assemblyman and subcommittee on Internet and New Technology Chairman Clyde Vanel.

The newly passed legislation provides for a nine-member task force to hold consultations with pertinent groups or individuals, in order to submit a report to the governor and leaders of both houses of the state assembly, providing various details regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

The report, to be submitted by December 15, 2020, will contain among other things a review of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries in the state; what digital currencies are being traded and their market share; the number of exchanges operating and their trading volume; the impact of cryptocurrencies’ use on state and local tax receipts; the types of large investors in cryptocurrencies; energy consumption for mining operations; transparency and vulnerability of markets; a review of existing legislation; and recommendations in light of the findings.

Vanel, chief proponent of the bill, noted that “in the early days,” incidence of hacks and thefts of exchanges were common, which became the rationale for the New York State Department of Financial Services, under Cuomo, to require a BitLicense for all cryptocurrency companies operating in the state.

“It has been nearly four years since the implementation of the BitLicense. In the cryptocurrency space and technology in general, a few months is equivalent to years,” Vanel said.

The Facebook post quoted several other officials, including Tech:NYC Executive Director Julie Samuels, who said, “The task force of experts will help us strike the balance between having a robust blockchain industry and cryptocurrency economic environment while at the same time protecting New York investors and consumers.”

Agentic Group’s Rik Willard said, “New York’s cryptocurrency task force—the first of its kind in the nation—shows how our state is leading the way in studying and understanding these technologies to ensure they can thrive in a responsible and effective way, further solidifying New York’s position as a global hub for smart innovation.”

Fellow assemblyman Ron Kim said, “New York must properly balance consumer protection with creating an environment ripe for investment and innovation in New York State.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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