Crypto Exchange Genesis Receives BitLicense to Operate in New York State

The company joins a limited list of licensees of the Department of Financial Services

by Deyana Laguna
18 May • 2.5 min
In News

Cryptocurrency exchange Genesis Global Trading announced on Thursday it has gained approval to operate in New York, making it one of the few firms in the sector to receive the BitLicense issued by the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Founded in 2004, Genesis is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The company caters to high net worth and institutional investors. It also offers auction-rate securities and crypto lending service.

The regulatory approval will allow Genesis to facilitate the trading of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC). The company has also been approved for potential future offerings of Zcash (ZEC).

"We are very pleased that DFS has approved the Genesis Global Trading BitLicense application," said Genesis CEO Michael Moro. "Although we have operated under a safe harbor provision in recent years, today's decision is an important step forward and reaffirms the robust compliance measures we have enacted as an established trading partner."

DFS noted in a separate press release that it had conducted a comprehensive review of Genesis’ application, including the company’s anti-money laundering, anti-fraud, capitalization, consumer protection, and cyber security policies.


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The regulator also revealed in its statement that it has authorized Paxos Trust Company to operate "a permissioned, blockchain-based post-trade platform settlement service" for precious metals, called Bankchain.

BitLicense Draws Criticism

BitLicense was created by DFS in 2015 as a special permit applied to virtual currency exchanges. To date, the department has granted licenses to bitFlyer, Coinbase, XRP II and Circle Internet Financial, as well as charters to Gemini Trust Company and Paxos (formerly itBit Trust Company).

The license has drawn criticism from crypto companies for being too burdensome. Speaking at the biggest yearly event in cryptocurencies Consensus 2018 in New York on Tuesday, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees said: “Let's call the Bitlicense what it is, an absolute failure … It should just be removed. Get rid of the Bitlicense, go back to where you were 4 years ago. That would probably entice us to go back to New York.” He added it was “pathetic” that only a handful of firms had received BitLicenses after three years.

The strict regulation has driven ShapeShift and industry peer Kraken away from New York, as stated by company executives at Consensus 2018.