Press Contacts: Washington, DC, Llew Claasen, [email protected]

Washington, DC – July 19, 2017 – On July 19, 2017, Llew Claasen, the Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, the world’s oldest and largest Bitcoin advocacy organization, asked the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), a bipartisan non-governmental organization established in 1975 representing members and staff of state legislatures in the U.S., to reject any proposal relying on the “Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act” currently being considered by the Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”).

In a letter submitted to NCSL’s leadership, Claasen asked that state legislatures reject any consideration of his proposed model act because its approval would  discourage inclusive financial innovation arising out of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.  Furthermore, Claasen also argued that the proposed statute should be abandoned because states already have significant disagreements and approaches as to how to classify or regulate Bitcoin, and because the proposed statute is subject to significant legal uncertainty due to the current legal challenge against the New York “BitLicense” before New York courts.

Adopting a model act with the characteristics of the New York regulation is sure to threaten the existence of the fintech industry nationwide. Just as the fintech industry’s use of cryptocurrency was stifled in New York, it is highly likely that this proposed model act will have a similar negative impact across every state adopting this approach. These innovative businesses will migrate to more welcoming jurisdictions and weaken America’s ability to compete in the emerging field of fintech,” Said Claasen.

In 2015, NYDFS promulgated its controversial “Virtual Currency” regulation (Part 200 of Chapter 1 of Title 23 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations), also known as BitLicense, aimed at regulating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency businesses in New York. In October 2015, a small business owner, Theo Chino, filed an action in New York State Supreme Court against NYDFS arguing that the agency exceeded its regulatory mandate, and that regulating Bitcoin lies with the legislature, not NYDFS.  The case is Chino vs. NY Dept. Financial Services (“NYDFS”) (Index No. 0101880-2015). 

For more information on the letter to the NCSL, visit:

https://bitcoinfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ULC-Virtual-Currencies_Jul142017-final.pdf

https://bitcoinfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/07.07.2017-Letter-to-ULC-regarding-the-proposed-Uniform-Regulation-of-Virtual-Currency-Businesses-Act.pdf

https://bitcoinfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NCSL-ULC-Virtual-Currencies_Jul192017-final.pdf

https://medium.com/bitcoinfoundation/the-foul-smell-of-federal-cryptocurrency-legislation-bd0a58995b60