As Requested, I’m Ben Lawsky, Superintendent of the NY Dept of Financial Services, Here for an AMA on Bitcoin/Virtual Currency
Hi Reddit – I’m Ben Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services for the State of New York. Thanks to those of you who requested that I do an AMA on the work our agency – the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) – is doing on oversight rules for virtual currency firms. We'll get started around 12:30pm EST. PROOF:https://twitter.com/BenLawsky/status/436544922892906496 We’re still in the process of formulating our views on a number of these issues – given that this is an ongoing regulatory process. So I may not be able to provide final or definitive answers to all of the questions you ask. But I’ll do my best to try and provide a window into some of our thinking at this stage. (I may even ask a few questions of my own during the course of the conversation, if that’s okay.) We’re trying to proceed without any prejudgments and solicit a broad range of views on virtual currency. I’m looking forward to a substantive and informative discussion. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m new to Reddit. So apologies in advance if I violate any posting etiquette. I was also told not to mention something called “Rampart” – whatever that is For those of you interested in some background on our agency’s work in this area, NYDFS has been conducting an inquiry on the appropriate regulatory guidelines for virtual currency firms for the last seven months. As part of that inquiry, in January 2014, NYDFS held public hearings in New York City on virtual currency. More than 14,000 people from 117 countries tuned into those hearings online, which was not the usual turnout we get! http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/hearing/vc_01282014_indx.htm https://twitter.com/BenLawsky/status/428965430842380288 Last week, we also laid out some of our initial thoughts on the path forward for regulators: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/speeches_testimony/sp140212.htm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhIZd9b2-Qs Our expectation is that – during the course of 2014 – the information we’ve gathered in our fact-finding effort will allow us to put forward a proposed regulatory framework for virtual currency firms operating in New York. We want to move expeditiously because the sooner we provide some regulatory certainty, the better for the firms that want to know what the rules of the road are. At the same time, we recognize this is complicated stuff and we don’t want to go too fast, make a mistake, and create unintended consequences. Most of all, we want to get detailed feedback from all sides so we can make smart, modern, forward-looking decisions. Thanks to all of you for being here. UPDATE 2:22 PM EST Sorry I have to run (also -- AMA's are more tiring than I would have expected!). Thanks to all of you for the thoughtful questions and comments. And to those who tipped me Bitcoin, I doubt I'm allowed to accept but appreciate the thought! I'll try to come back and answer some additional questions later. I can't tell you how useful this is to our regulatory process. With that in mind, I'd like to pose a few questions to you if you'd like to answer them while I'm away from the computer: (1) What do you personally find as the most useful and/or important current application for virtual currency? (2) Where do you think virtual currency tech is headed in the medium term and long term. (3) Are there particular problems from a consumer perspective you've had in dealing with virtual currency firms that regulators should consider? EVENING UPDATE I circled back and answered a few more of your questions, but I have to head out for the evening. Thanks again for your thoughtful questions and feedback. EVENING UPDATE x2 I also recorded a short sign-off video to thank everyone here for their questions and comments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRXVPq16n_c
There is a 30 day comment period for the current Bitlicense proposal. Unless there are substantial changes, New York will be a Bitcoin dead zone
The 30 day comment period starts next week. Bitlicense, as proposed will force most companies that store customer BTC deposits to block New York IP addresses. There is very little chance that Lawsky will make any further changes to it, so what will this mean for Bitcoin around the world? EDIT, as a reminder: This is how the Bitlicense will affect Bitcoin businesses, taken from here: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/2aycxs/hi_this_is_ben_lawsky_at_nydfs_here_are_the/cizyqyz (I've added modifications in light of changes in the new proposal and information that I found was missing in the original write-up) Entities are considered dealing in virtual currencies if:
They transfer Bitcoins on behalf of one person. This includes Bitcoin tipping (changetip), mixers, Blockchain.info Send Shared, CoinJoin, Dark Wallet(200.2n1)
They hold or have control over Bitcoins for their users. This includes Mining pools, Coinbase, Circle, Greenaddress.it, all exchanges. (200.2n2)
They buy or sell Bitcoins as a business activity. This includes Local Bitcoins sellers, #bitcoin-otc. FinCEN statements includes selling physical coinage (including casascius coins) also regulated. (200.2n3)
They create a virtual currency, even if it is decentralized. This includes creating altcoins. In fact, Satoshi would have commited a crime creating Bitcoin without registration. (200.2n5)
They trade any virtual currency, even for another virtual currency. This includes alt coin exchanges. Mintpal, Cryptsy, BTER, etc(200.2n4)
.. to any resident in New York. Web services, even those incorporated overseas, must either comply or block access for NY users. (200.2n) Entities 'dealing in virtual currency' must:
Perform AML and collect identities, including verification of government issued Photo ID and proof of address, and retain these information for 10 7 years. (200.15a). Verification of identity required for any accountholder that initiates transaction with a value over $3,000.
Retain all transaction logs for 10 7 years, including real name & physical addresses of ALL parties of a transactionaccount holders- yes, including whoever you are sending to.(200.12a1)
Report all transactions over the USD value of $3000 $10,000, and file Suspicious Activity Reports. (200.15g4)
Maintain collateral in the form of USDhigh quality, highly liquid, investment-grade assets, including collateral for Bitcoin balances. The % as collateral is unspecified.
Retained earnings and profits of in invested in US dollars. They may not keep any profit in Bitcoin.(200.8b)
Forfeit Bitcoins that are inactive for over 5 years to the State of New York - (200.12c)
Not obfuscate any transactions - Bitcoin mixing would be illegal. (200.15f)
Must get prior written approvalfor any plan or proposal to introduce or offer a new product, service, or activity, orto make a material change to an existing product, service, or activityfrom the State of New York
Pay$5000 application feefor getting a Bitlicense
The (only?) good news: Merchants do not need a BitLicense to accept Bitcoin for a good or service. (200.3c2). > This post was created for general guidance, and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific advice from a professional. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this post. EDIT 2, targetpro suggested expressing any concerns you may have about the proposed regs to the NY Dept. of Finan. Services:
Hey all! GoodShibe here! I'm technically still on vacation, but in light of the news out of New York... I feel the need to comment. If you're not aware of what's going on, the New York State Department of Financial Services is proposing a new regulatory framework for how all Cryptocurrencies work for the residents of New York State. However, the way that it's worded, the way that it's been presented, it's incredibly vague in some areas while being incredibly strict in others. They're designed to take 'untraceable digital cash' and, at pretty much every point along the chain, put someone's face and name to who had what and when. This, of course, weakens Cryptos immediately in compared to, well, cold, hard cash -- which is largely untraceable. This bill, as it has been designed, seems to try and have a massive chilling effect on cryptocurrencies in general. You can use cryptos, sure, but by the time they're done with them... why would you want to? You can read the proposed Regulations here. AmericanBitcoin has put together a TL;DR of the proposed reglations goldcakes has put together a TL;DR of some of the ramifications If you'd like to see a quick breakdown of exactly what's wrong with the proposal, I highly recommend you read this comment by MrMadden over in /Bitcoin, which is utterly fantastic. dalovindj also has a great post on how this would effect our fellow Shibes. Here's the thing: We always knew that this was going to be a problem. The idea that somehow the old, established system would just roll over and let the next generation step up to the plate without a fight is laughable. And now we've seen the first volley. The warning shot off the port bow, so to speak. The regulations that are coming out are, well, typical government overreach designed, specifically, to elicit the reaction that they are. They're big and scary and over-reaching. But they're also designed so that, IF there's a public outcry, at a large enough scale, they can 'pull back' the more offensive over-steps and still come out of this with the regulation that they REALLY want. If nobody stands up to complain or fight back about it... then bonus for them. The city of New York then gets global over-reach on a massive scale all under the guise of 'protecting it's citizens'. Incidentally, if you hadn't noticed, Canada set the wheels in motion recently, with the first 'Bitcoin Law' which caused quite an uproar (remember when DogeDice closed down rather than meet the Canadian Government's new regulations?). Here's the thing - and it's a truth that's as immutable as time itself: Governments are going to Govern. They will always move to exact as much power as we let them have over any new or emerging technology, especially where money is involved. So... what can we do about it? For those who don't live in the US, the best thing you can do is learn about this regulation - because, whether you like it or not, the Government of the State of New York is making it your business. Because anyone who does business with residents of the State of New York will have to submit to these regulations as well. Meaning that if you do business with a business that does business with the state of New York, you will be subject to those same overreaches. The long and short of the problem is this: You have 45 days, starting on July 23rd, once the Regulations are formally published, to make a case to the people of New York that, whether they realize it or not, this bill is trampling their rights. Because, that's how you defeat this issue. We need to get NEW YORKERS to care about this issue. If you're not in New York, your job is now to find a way to help make New Yorkers care about this issue. I don't care which banner your coin flies - Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Reddcoin, Potcoin... this is effects us all and it's only just getting started. How will this bill effect them? It might not, directly, lots of people aren't using cryptos yet. But it's the first step in something larger. If this goes through unchallenged, then I foresee a whole new legal arms race to 'protect' ones citizens from, well, anything they like. Because this is '... but think of the children!' for a whole new era. This is classic government overreach. If you're living in New York, you need to get in touch with your local representatives and let them know, unequivocally, that this is a voting issue for you. That you will be watching to find out if they support this bill, and that if they do, you will be voting for the other guy. The best way to deal with this problem is not to 'get angry'. It's to 'get angry and get to work'. Forget waiting for the Lobbyists and their big money to tell you how it's going to be. If you want cryptos to survive - and this legislation, as stated, would make illegal having a QT wallet/node running on your computer - then -- every crypto-user on this planet -- is now a Lobbyist. And, for my fellow Shibes, if there's one thing that /Dogecoin has proven good at, it's in getting the word out there. We're smart, we're media savvy - we know how to get attention! So, let's get organized. Bring everyone on board - every coin, every crypto-user in every corner of the world. Let's get active. Because we've still got time to fight this. Together! It's 8:50AM EST and we've found 87.62% of our initial 100 Billion DOGEs -- only 12.38% remains until our period of Hyper-inflation ends! Our Global Hashrate is up from ~44 to ~46 Gigahashes per second and our Difficulty is up from ~641 to ~815. As always, I appreciate your support! GoodShibe EDIT: I've created this brainstorming thread to try and help get ideas moving. Come join me! EDIT 2: I've also started this post to ask for the community's permission/support to reach out to /bitcoin and other communities to try and organize a crypto-wide response to these regulations.
If you ever wondered why services like Shapeshift don't work in New York..
https://streamable.com/m9lyl You have Ben Lawsky of BitLicense to thank for that. Many of you are too new to remember when NY regulation was a huge topic and ultimately it resulted in the death of many bitcoin businesses operating in NY. Lawsky passed his regulation with the aid of FUD like "terrorism" and the usual. Then he goes on to create a private firm to consult for exactly the license he helped create. Bitcoin's price/adoption could be greater than what it currently is, But one man felt he should profit from it instead.
Circle has still not responded to Peter Todd about whether they are implementing censorship or surveillance technology
so let me summarise, mike hearn is a developer that has been pushing for blacklists, censorship, supporting regulation .etc he is a crony in the worst way. peter todd is the developer who has done loads for bitcoin. the anonymity techniques in dark wallet were invented by him. he works for the people. mike hearn wants to censor peter todd. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=418071.msg6412027#msg6412027 circle is a new company that is always promoted by the foundation and their crew of people. they always appear at the top of conference lists for finance .etc http://bitcoin2014.com/http://www.bitfin.com/ jeremy allaire (circle ceo), makes statements that bitcoin needs to abandon its libertarian roots. we need to take this plaything away from the anarchists kind of attitude. http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-abandons-anti-establishment-wall-street/ mike hearn is working with circle: http://www.coindesk.com/circle-advisory-board-members-burns-appointment/ circle is working on tracking and surveillance tech: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=418071.msg6403720#msg6403720 they refuse to answer questions (this is one of many, can't find the rest): http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/25ou9f/good_morning_reddit_we_know_youve_been_wondering/ mike hearn says the bitcoin dev model needs to change. backing up gavin (chief scientist of bitcoin foundation who is actually more like a figurehead to legitimise the foundation)... this is his way of pushing out elements by formalising the dev process to stop people to participate and take control. http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/28zts3/mike_hearn_interview_quotes_progress_on_the/ circle also this month made a similar statement (on coindesk): http://www.coindesk.com/circle-ceo-jeremy-allaire-issues-challenge-bitcoins-core-developers/ note how he says "unwelcoming to new participants" - same words as mike hearn. if you want to dev bitcoin, there's nothing stopping you. go write code or participate. don't try to assert control. it's all related, bitcoin foundation being official with their claim to legimitimacy but no merit to back that up. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=322328.msg3460051#msg3460051 "Just got a call from the bitcoin foundation. They wouldn't go on the record to comment on the article but just kept telling me "off the record" that you lot [Dark Wallet] have no credibility and that a much better story is some venture capitalist yesterday investing $9m in bitcoin..." ~email from journalist when we were doing DarkWallet crowdfunding. btw check this, http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/2646ei/bitcoin_foundation_has_4600000_in_assets_90_in/ and despite all those resources they have done jack shit for bitcoin. there is some big corruption going on here. foundation people are all flying all-expense paid fancy trips, paying themselves high salaries whilst most wallet developers and the opensource projects (which people use) in this space are without resources. they have contributed nothing to the community. there's been no proof otherwise besides some minor grants for ~$10k or so. http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/2aycxs/hi_this_is_ben_lawsky_at_nydfs_here_are_the/ people are like "oh dear, we need better legislation" without realising the foot in the door danger. it's like the used car salesman who rips you off with an overpriced crappy car which you jump on after "he speaks to the boss" (i.e smokes a ciggy), knocking down his initial high offer. wow! what a bargain! G8 magazine, June 2013 "Protecting digital economies": "If the leaders of the European Union and United States could be convinced to take a lead on these initiatives [banning Bitcoin], that would be a huge contribution to making the internet a safe place for financial transactions. At the same time, it would also strike a blow against those who would try to destroy the fabric of our world’s well-being." JP Morgan, Feb 2014 "The audacity of Bitcoin": "But followers of financial history know the limitation of a system based on a fixed or slow-growing money supply: it imposes uncomfortable financial discipline on governments, households and corporates. [i.e governments, consumers, the corporations" (goes on to talk about how printing dollars was used to fund WW1 and the Vietnam war as a good thing) ECB, Oct 2012 "Virtual currency schemes": "Authorities need to consider whether they intend to formalise or acknowledge and regulate these schemes. In this regard, a likely suggestion could sooner or later involve virtual currency scheme owners registering as financial institutions with their local regulating authorities. This is a similar trajectory to the one PayPal has undergone, as it was granted a banking licence in Luxembourg in 2007 after its service became popular. This is not an easy step, but it looks like the only possible way to strike a proper balance between money and payment innovations on the one hand, and consumer protection and financial stability, on the other." Mark my words. The problem is not with this regulation needing to be fixed. They will probably tone down the proposal and it will be hailed as a victory within the community, yet be another step toward normalisation of their activities. http://www.coindesk.com/ben-lawsky-friend-foe/ "The choice for the regulators is: permit money laundering on the one hand, or permit innovation on the other, and we’re always going to choose squelching the money laundering first. It’s not worth it to society to allow money laundering and all of the things it facilitates to persist in order to permit 1000 flowers to bloom on the innovation side.” ~ Ben Lawsky funny he's affiliated with chuck schumer too who is a populist and someone who in the early days was very anti-bitcoin (silk road). i love the whole tone of this propaganda piece which is like "he's such a nice guy". I bet he has good manners too. maybe you all appreciate this article, http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-dark-wallet-developers-plan-for-startup-governments-run-on-bitcoin
Hi, this is Ben Lawsky from the WTF Government Agency of NY. Here are the proposed Linux regulations.
I know that you've been waiting for a long time for us to govern over the chaotic Linux distribution scene. As we are also regulating Bitcoin, and in the end Bitcoin is just some code being executed, we extended our BitLicense and adapted it to normal Linux usage; focusing on the different distributions that may want to use Linux or already use it. Here's a TL;DR, based on the insights from an user on another thread:
45 days for existing businesses to comply with the new regulations and register with the state.
Background check required for all linux distributors/users.
Fingerprints of all users of Linux submitted to FBI.
Creating a new distro that may be used by a NY citizen requires to register as a company within New York State.
Requires written approval of all new patches to any package, also approval before releasing minor and major versions.
Requires that you keep 10 years of records of downloads and versions of the packages that your users have.
Servers that distribute Linux versions can ONLY serve such programs from within a Windows Server. No mirrors, load balancers, or any website or webapp may be hosted in a Linux box.
Mandatory reviews every 2 years: number of users, active downloads, updates, number of patches applied per package, policies to approve/dismiss a patch.
Typical AML/KYC requirements: Distributions must retain information about users' physical addresses, name, valid government ID.
Cybersecurity requirement: requires security officer, security plan, audits, backup plan. Things like heartbleed will not happen again, because we say so.
In marketing/advertising, you must include "Licensed to utilize a Open Source Operating System by the New York State Department of WTF".
Must disclose a long list of material risks with dealing with open source operating systems: e.g., "no warranties provided, no government backing"
We must do something about the US cryptocurrencies regulation
I know most Shibes don't like to hear the word 'Bitcoin', but please, read this before downvoting. There are a lot of discussion about Bitcoin regulation in the US and this can really impact ALL cryptocurrencies, including us. Some quotes from the latest news: "New York’s top financial regulator told Bitcoin entrepreneurs he’ll prevent their companies from abetting money laundering even at the risk stamping out innovation in the embryonic virtual-currency industry." "According to the study, there is "widespread concern" about the negative impact Bitcoin could have on national currencies and how it could be used to fund criminal operations and tax fraud." Not wow, much serious and we must watch this closely. There is a open letter to Mr. Ben Lawsky of New York, who is the lawyer responsible to create the regulation in the next months. Please sign it: http://bitcoinfinancialassociation.org News quotes from: - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-29/new-york-state-regulator-promises-tough-bitcoin-rules.html
Bitcoin Community, As many of you know, Bitpay is sponsoring the NCAA (college level) Bitcoin Bowl which plays the 26th at 8pm EST. http://stpetersburgbowl.com/ A huge thanks to Tony and the Bitpay team for putting the Bitcoin name out there, over their own company, and all the work done to get hundred of merchants accepting around the stadium. I'm excited to watch, just to see some crusty football announcers forced to talk about bitcoin. The Tampa Bay Times put out an article, finishing with a helpful “How Bitcoin Works,” with such gems as, “Now the QR code, after being scanned, links the merchant and the buyer's bitcoin wallet. The buyer then enters the amount owed, a private access code and payment approval. (You'll still pay tax on certain things. You can still tip your waiter at a restaurant. It's actually not that different. Well, kind of!)” http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/retail/at-espn-bitcoin-bowl-push-is-on-for-football-8212-and-cryptocurrency/2211278 Few bitcoiners are... traditionally interested in American football. I thought I'd put together a quick guide so that any bitcoiner can watch the game and sound like they know what they are talking about. With no further ado, How Football Works for Bitcoiners, with some silly analogies. bitcoin – I'm sure you have some far better ones... :) Quarterback: touches ball every offensive play, hands off to a running back, or passes to a receiver or tight end. Bitcoin analogy: Gavin Andresen. If he isn't on his game, it isn't a guaranteed loss, but everyone else will need to pick up the slack. Touchdown: Get into the end zone - either end of the 100 yard (91.44 meters for international readers) field yields your team 6 points, with a short kick for an additional point to make it 7 points. Bitcoin analogy: Price bubble – we're going to the moon! Both seem great and unstoppable at the time, there is a lot of irrational celebration, and in both cases, the game is rarely over. Touchdown celebration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dmqGg6Ccvw Randy Moss goes to the moon Price bubble celebration: http://i.imgur.com/UPuMUx8.jpg Bitcoin price goes to the moon Interception: Quarterback throws a pass, but the defense catches it, you have an interception. Bitcoin analogy:http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/11/feds-will-auction-off-19-million-in-bitcoins-from-alleged-silk-road-kingpin/ First Down: When the offense advances 10 yards or more from the line of scrimmage within 4 plays, they get a first down, and a set of new 4 plays. Bitcoin analogy: Block confirmation – this is the lifeblood of a football team, and the bitcoin space. Wait, is bitcoin dead yet? Wait..... http://isbitcoindeadyet.com/ Goxxed: A familiar term to bitcoiners, I propose as new football term to describe a play like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2EOees58eQ Defense: Tries to halt the offense from advancing down the field and stop a touchdown. Bitcoin analogy: NY DFS headed by Ben Lawsky. Much like the terribly ranked Jacksonville Jaguars defense, they can't slow this thing down for long. http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/jax/jacksonville-jaguars Anyone have any better analogies? Excited to see what 2015 brings for Bitcoin - Justin Blincoe, Coinapult
We recently explained why we think last weeks Bitcoin hacks, and the return of price volatility that followed, was a major setback to mainstream adoption of the digital currency. The attacks came as New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky considers how to regulat... NYDFS superintendent Ben Lawsky will be keynoting at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas in November. Read news and updates about BEN LAWSKY and all related bitcoin & cryptocurrency news. Displaying items 1 - 5 of 5 . Bitlicense Should be Smashed, Candidate for New York Governor Urges. 06/29/2018 - 00:55. NYDFS Superintendent Was Wrong — Bitlicense Severely Damaged Bitcoin Businesses. 04/14/2018 - 05:28 . French Entrepreneur’s Case to Overturn the Bitlicense Dismissed. 01/05/2018 - 11:05 ... Ben Lawsky, the former New York Superintendent of Financial Services who spearheaded the BitLicense regulatory framework while in office, has joined startup Ripple's board of directors. Ben Lawsky will help you navigate laws he created. Many individuals in the bitcoin community have become annoyed and angered at Ben Lawsky due to his intentions of creating a new digital currency consulting firm that will help businesses navigate the very laws that he helped develop at the NYDFS. It’s obvious that Voorhees agrees with those ...
Chicago N. America Bitcoin Conference - Philanthropy, Emerging Markets & Regulation
http://www.coincadence.com Ben Lawsky releases BitLicense, the new Bitcoin regulatory framework, at the BITS Emerging Payments Forum (full talk and Q&A) The ... Benjamin Lawsky, the former superintendent of financial services for New York State, is joining Ripple’s board of directors. Lawsky is best known in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency circles as the ... Pragmatism not Idealism - #LIVE CALL-IN - Bitcoin News Talk Chat Show - March 18, 2020 - Duration: 2:28:09. World Crypto Network 458 views. New BitLicense Proposal Update, Ben Lawsky In Da House tips: 1FEqW7sQrxqQbVtx3TpYMKYUuLU9CUEfmo Used to love the SNES, good times, favorite games: street fight 2... Superintendent of Financial Services for New York, Ben Lawsky, has issued his proposed regulations for a Bitlicence governing Bitcoin businesses. I've warned people repeatedly about the fact that ...