Empire State of Mind: Robinhood Wins New York’s Coveted BitLicense, Will Now Serve Crypto Traders
Today, Robinhood and LibertyX gained approval to work in virtual currencies in New York. Robinhood is a stock trading app that recently created some controversy when they released interest-bearing bank accounts that are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
The app will expand the company’s affiliation with cryptocurrencies for New Yorkers. The feature isn’t new for most Robinhood users. The company waited for NYDFS approval to offer crypto services to New Yorkers.
New York approved seven cryptocurrencies on Robinhood, “including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.” US residents in many other states already had access:
Robinhood co-CEO Vlad Tenev kissed up to the NYDFS in their press release:
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.
LibertyX First Approved Way to Buy Bitcoin With Debit Cards
LibertyX is a network that allows retailers to accept cash and credit card transactions in exchange for Bitcoin. They are nationwide and now will be able to operate in New York State. According to the DFS, they are the first approved company that can sell cryptos for debit cards.
Importantly, most Bitcoin ATMs in New York allow for cash transactions. Coinbase only allows credit cards. LibertyX terminals will enable regular debit card purchases.
The NYDFS said of itself in the press release:
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.
However, in the recent past critics accused them of not processing applications fast enough. Entrepreneurs don’t take kindly to pouring millions of dollars into something and having the government slow them down. Because of this, extensive regulation is a serious roadblock to innovation. Seen as the financial focal point of the modern world, New York is crucially important to blockchain’s growth.
The introduction of the BitLicense was a major point of contention among Bitcoiners in 2015, with several exchanges protesting and cutting off any New York-based customers. BitLicense architect Ben Lawsky later left the NYDFS to found a consulting firm which obviously could specialize in BitLicense.
Baiju Bhatt (Robinhood Co-CEO) Image from TechCrunch/Flickr
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