New York’s Department of Financial Services issued its 24th BitLicense today to the online finance and lending start-up SoFi, which authorizes the company to conduct cryptocurrency operations in the state.
The state’s approval allows SoFi to provide its customers with the ability to buy and sell bitcoin, along with select other virtual coins, for U.S. dollars and vice versa. Specifically, SoFi has been authorized to transact Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Ether Classic, LiteCoin, and Stellar Lumens, in addition to others it may add in the future.
“The Department’s approval of SoFi’s virtual currency and money transmitter licenses provides consumers with more choices in a continuously evolving global financial services marketplace,” the regulator said in a statement
The San Francisco-based company has been already in partnership with popular exchange Coinbase that enabled crypto trading features into its SoFi Invest platform, which mainly targets millennial investors through a student loan consolidation service. The partnership also allows SoFi customers to track crypto price movements.
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Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi, noted: “We’re thrilled to now be able to offer the trading of cryptocurrency, in addition to active and automated investing, as part of SoFi Invest in New York State, in addition to the full suite of SoFi products that help our members borrow, save, spend, invest, and protect their money.”
Complicated regulatory structure
To maintain a BitLicense license, a provider must fulfill various reporting requirements and comply with standards on anti-money laundering, cybersecurity, and consumer protection.
While US authorities have been relatively active on the subject of cryptocurrencies, the local community has had its ears filled with conflicting talk from different regulators and various state legislatures.
New York is the only state that requires firms dealing in digital assets to obtain a license to operate. The Empire State has established a strong state-based regulation, but the approach has been widely maligned by the crypto community for being one of the strictest laws governing this type of business.
The news follows other, similar stories of progress for Bitcoin companies in the US, though cryptocurrency regulation still happens largely on a state-by-state basis.