New York-based crypto lending platform BlockFi has announced that it has been granted with a Money Transmitter License (MTL) in Washington State.
According to CoinTelegraph, the announcement came in an email sent on December 12.
👉If you missed our last announcement, residents of Washington State can now trade and earn crypto interest with a BlockFi Interest Account. Start trading now 👇https://t.co/0jhWcAIowm
— BlockFi (@TheRealBlockFi) December 12, 2019
The license grants BlockFi with legal status as one of the first companies that is allowed to offer interest-bearing crypto accounts to Washington state residents. Residents of the state will also have access to BlockFi’s zero-fee trading platform, which was announced just last week.
🚩Trade your crypto on BlockFi! 👉We just launched BlockFi Trading, a way to easily trade your BTC, ETH, and GUSD while simultaneously earning compound interest paid out in the currency of your choice! No minimum to start 👇https://t.co/uXrT7mYPM2
— BlockFi (@TheRealBlockFi) December 5, 2019
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Growth & compliance
In the announcement of the trading platform, the company said that it was pursuing other licenses in order to legitimize the platform: “as part of the preparation for the trading launch, BlockFi completed MSB registration with FinCen and has expanded their state licensing strategy to include money transmission licenses in addition to its existing state lending licenses.”
BlockFi will also offer residents of Washington State a fiat on- and off-ramp option.
Zac Prince, CEO and Founder of BlockFi, said that “to date, we have focused on providing products to existing crypto investors that are readily available to investors in other asset classes. With the launch of trading, we are taking a big step in the direction of enabling net new investors to come into the ecosystem.”
Prince also said that “growth of the crypto market overall benefits the entire industry and we’re excited to shift our focus in that direction, in addition to adding products and features that expand the value proposition for our existing clients.”
BlockFi raised $18.3 million in a Series A funding round in August and has raised $79 million in funding rounds to date, according to CrunchBase. According to TechCrunch, the funding round was led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, with participation from Winklevoss Capital, Morgan Creek Digital, Akuna Capital. Earlier backers Galaxy Digital Ventures and ConsenSys Ventures.
Prince told CoinDesk last week that “‘tens of thousands’ of people are now keeping their crypto with BlockFi, and more than 50 institutional players are borrowing from it.”
DeFi, including crypto lending services, has been identified as a promising trend
Crypto lending and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms have been recognized as some of the fastest-growing trends in crypto this year.
Indeed, in August of this year, crypto credit assessment startup Graychain found that roughly $4.7 billion has been lent out over the history of the crypto lending sector. At the same time, though, only $86 million has been earned back in interest–a mere 1.8 percent return.