New York State Grants BitLicense to Robinhood and LibertyX

robinhood BitLicenseThe virtual currency businesses join leading crypto pioneers, including Ripple, Square, Coinbase, and BitPay, as BitLicense holders. The authorization granted by the New York State adds extra customer confidence to their businesses.

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., doing business as LibertyX, for virtual currency licenses.

Maria T. Vullo, Financial Services Superintendent at New York State DFS, commented:

Vlad Tenev, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Robinhood Markets, Inc
Vlad Tenev, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Robinhood Markets, Inc

“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.”

Robinhood has also been granted a money transmission license from the regulator. Robinhood Crypto is now authorized to offer services for buying, selling, and storing seven virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Parent company Robinhood allows U.S. based retail/individual customers to trade stocks and options on a commission-free basis through Robinhood Financial.

Vlad Tenev, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Robinhood Markets, Inc, said:

“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.”

Chris Yim, Co-Founder and CEO of LibertyX
Chris Yim, Co-Founder and CEO of LibertyX

Cryptocurrency exchange LibertyX was granted a BitLicense in order to provide consumers the sale of Bitcoin through debit terminals as the company is the first DFS virtual currency licensee to allow customers to use debit cards to purchase Bitcoin from traditional ATMs.

Chris Yim ,Co-Founder and CEO of LibertyX, 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.”

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

The regulator has been busy providing BitLicenses over the past months. In late 2017, Ripple appointed the BitLicense architect to its Board of Directors. SeedCX has a pending BitLicense with NYDFS and a pending Broker-Dealer registration with FINRA. The DFS attributes licenses following a comprehensive and rigorous review of all applications which are subject to significant regulatory conditions.

Kyle Powers, Co-Founder & Chairman of LibertyX
Kyle Powers, Co-Founder & Chairman of LibertyX

Requirements to hold a BitLicense include:

– 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.
In September 2015, Boston-based Circle was granted the first BitLicense, Ripple followed in July 2016. In 2017, Coinbase, bitFlyer, and Genesis Global Trading were granted a license. Xapo, Square, and BitPay also hold the authorization from DFS.