NYDFS Promises Clarity to Bitcoin Foundation

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In response to a Bitcoin Foundation filing yesterday, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) quickly promised to provide the foundation more information about its controversial “BitLicense” proposal.

Citing New York law that requires a clear statement of “needs and benefits” for proposed regulations, the Bitcoin Foundation’s comments included a request under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for “any risk management and cost-benefit analysis (or any other systematic assessment) that is a part of the ‘extensive research and analysis’” the NYDFS cited when it issued its proposal.

“The community can help you fit regulatory means to public interest ends if they have access to the risks your study of digital currencies identified,” wrote Bitcoin Foundation Global Policy Counsel Jim Harper to New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services. The NYDFS promised hours later to deliver that information to the foundation within 20 days.

Echoing and extending community demand for more time to comment, the Bitcoin Foundation also suggested that the NYDFS adopt “an iterative process, in which you issue drafts, take comments for three months, re-draft, and take comments again until the many, many issues raised by the proposed regulation are thoroughly vetted in true collaboration with the community. ”

Citing the NYDFS Superintendent’s willingness to engage with the community on Reddit, the Bitcoin Foundation letter highlighted tools such as News Genius and GitHub that would support a truly collaborative rulemaking process. “[T]he department should resist the constraints of administrative procedures developed in the era of postage stamps,” Harper wrote. “We are confident that the community will meet you wherever you announce you will be engaging with them.”

The Bitcoin Foundation will publish all of the material it receives from the NYDFS for the Bitcoin community to review. If the agency takes the full 20 days to respond, the materials will be available just days before the close of the original comment period on the regulations, which was the minimum 45 days allowed by New York law. The NYDFS has signaled that it will extend the comment period on its sweeping, controversial draft digital currency regulation.

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