BitLicense #6: New York Grants Cryptocurrency License to Bitcoin Wallet Xapo
Cryptocurrency wallet and vault Xapo is the latest recipient of New York’s ‘BitLicense’, arguably the strictest state law governing the crypto sector, from the state’s financial regulator.
In an announcement on Thursday, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS)’s superintendent Maria T. Vullo said the authority is furthering “New York’s continued commitment to creating a thriving, global fintech marketplace” by granting its BitLicense to Xapo, a bitcoin wallet and cold storage service headquartered in Switzerland.
In doing so, the New York regulator has granted its sixth-ever BitLicense, a formal approval to operate in the state of New York, after approving the first BitLicense to industry startup Circle in September 2015.
Xapo president Ted Rogers said in statements:
“We are very pleased with the approval of Xapo’s BitLicense application. It is the end result of much hard work, not just by Xapo personnel but by all the DFS and its staff.”
With its new license, Xapo will now be authorized to offer its digital wallet and its offline vault service to users in New York. Initially headquartered in San Francisco, California, Xapo has since moved its base of operations to the Swiss town of Zug, commonly known as the ‘Crypto Valley’, citing favorable regulatory conditions in early 2017.
The NYDFS said Xapo underwent a ‘comprehensive review’ with the regulator looking into the crypto firm’s anti-money laundering, anti-fraud, capitalization, consumer protection and cybersecurity policies. Further, the regulator notably added that the new license is subject to “ongoing supervision by DFS”.
The NYDFS has also granted approval to cryptocurrency exchange itBit, formerly known as Paxos, to add four major cryptocurrencies in Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Stellar Lumens to its trading and custody services. Paxos does not operate with a BitLicense and was instead granted a virtual currency charter under New York Banking Law in May 2015. The Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange is the other licensed cryptocurrency trading platform to operate with a charter.