Press Contacts: San Francisco, CA, Llew Claasen, [email protected]

San Francisco, CA – April 16, 2018 – Llew Claasen, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, the world’s oldest and largest Bitcoin advocacy organization, expressed his opposition to statements made by New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) Superintendent Maria T. Vullo regarding the Virtual Currency Regulation called “the BitLicense” at this year’s Conference of State Bank Supervisors on April 10, 2018. These statements were quoted in an article published by Coindesk on April 12, 2018 (available at https://www.coindesk.com/ny-regulator-argues-bitlicense-regulation-boosted-businesses/).

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 “the BitLicense,” aimed at regulating Bitcoin and other crypto-currency businesses in New York. Following its promulgation, it has been widely reported that most of the crypto-currency and blockchain startups left New York or closed down their New York activities as a direct consequence of this regulation.

During the Conference of State Banking Supervisors, Superintendent Vullo stated that “by setting standards, we have made it possible for both startups and traditional financial service providers to pursue innovation in this area,” and that the regulation “created a channel for growing in the right way.”

In response, Llew Claasen stated that “Superintendent Vullo’s statements are not only illogical, but they are false. First, the BitLicense did not allow startups to pursue innovation, instead, it triggered a mass exodus of those startups out of New York and made it impossible for them to pursue any innovation there. Furthermore, this regulation hampered growth instead of encouraging it, since Bitcoin startups abandoned New York as a jurisdiction to create new technological opportunities and jobs. Superintendent Vullo’s attempt to defend the actions of her predecessor, Ben Lawsky, in justifying his activities around the BitLicense promulgation is alarming. Her defense of Lawsky’s botched cryptocurrency hearings in 2014 to justify his actions is false and misleading. Furthermore, the numerous comments submitted by startups and minority small businesses were flatly rejected and never seriously considered by a regulator who seemed to have his mind set before anyone had a chance to advance robust and serious arguments about how to regulate a burgeoning technology.”

Finally, following the 2015 promulgation of its controversial “Virtual Currency” regulation (Part 200 of Chapter 1 of Title 23 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations), also known as “the BitLicense”, aimed at regulating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency businesses in New York, 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).

The Bitcoin Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in September 2012. Comprised of senior leaders in the Bitcoin community, the Foundation coordinates joint efforts of the Bitcoin community, helping to create awareness of the benefits of Bitcoin, its use and its related technology requirements. The Foundation’s audience includes technologists, regulators, and the media, and its reach is global. The Foundation has been at the forefront of campaigning for an unimpeded economic system for the future.