Bitcoin Firm Gets NY License

The bitcoin journey has hit an important milestone, as one firm has been licensed to offer digital currency services in New York — a first for the industry.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal Monday (Sept. 21), Boston-based firm Circle Internet Financial Ltd. was granted the license — known, perhaps appropriately, as a “BitLicense” — by the New York Department of Financial Services.

Circle Internet was founded two years ago, according to WSJ, by Jeremy Allaire and has received financial backing by Goldman Sachs Group. The BitLicense itself will allow the company, and others that follow Circle Internet, to expand and attract customers to their currency services, while also mandating compliance with anti-money laundering and other security rules.

WSJ noted that Circle is now able to conduct its mobile payment service, wherein users can receive and send U.S. dollars and bitcoins. They can also use text messages to move digital currency and will not have to “convert into and out of bitcoin,” according to WSJ. The firm will also be targeting movement into other currencies, such as the euro. Circle Internet also has debuted its online service, CirclePay, alongside the licensing announcement.

The BitLicense itself has been around for, well, a bit, having been introduced by the New York Department of Financial Services in January of last year. As WSJ reported, there is continuing controversy over whether the BitLicense itself has hurt demand for bitcoin, as some firms have “geofenced” New York and will not do business there. The New York Department of Financial Services has said that 22 companies have applied for the license, which carries a $5,000 application fee, and approvals should continue. “We are trying to move expeditiously,” said Matthew Anderson, deputy superintendent for public affairs at the department, in an interview with WSJ.

In other recent New York and bitcoin-related news, in May itBit grabbed a license from the department to open a bitcoin exchange, which increases movement toward mainstream adoption, according to some observers. And other states, such as California, have been eyeing licenses.

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