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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bitlicense Goes Live: Final Form Released

The Bitcoin community has experienced its first D-Day.

New York regulators just released the final version of "BitLicense" earlier today. The Bitcoin and digital currency community will be divided into two camps on this.

First, if you view Bitcoin as a technology and are limited to developing the underlying technology (what's called blockchain technology), then you do not need to apply for and receive regulatory clearance with Bitlicense. As I remarked months ago, the revised regulation adopted this change in perhaps the most material and meaningful progress made during the entire review and comment process.

Second, if you are in the business of exchanging digital currencies for one another, or with conventional government issued currency, you are probably covered and need approval.

Third, if you are in the business of holding any customer assets or funds in the form of a digital currency, you are probably covered and also need approval.

Since Bitlicense has an expansive long-arm definition of the term "New York person" anyone in a covered activity will be affected even if they do not operate in New York.

As a result, businesses in these sectors need to make immediate plans to attempt to apply and comply, or clearly withdraw from any covered activity touching New York State.

While the foregoing is not intended to be legal advice, I do provide legal and compliance advice (for a fee to paying clients) and time is already ticking.

I do believe that young companies desiring to have access to and compete for business in the lucrative New York market may find it worthwhile to apply for the Bitlicense.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer who works extensively with blockchain and cryptocurrency innovators and startups.

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