The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) rejected the BitLicense application filed by cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex to operate in the state, on Wednesday.
In a letter detailing the rejection, the body said that it worked with the exchange, in order to address and work out the deficiencies the exchange had. It said, “As you are also aware, throughout Bittrex’s application process, the Department worked steadily with Bittrex to address continued deficiencies and to assist Bittrex in developing appropriate controls and compliance programs commensurate with the evolving nature of the sector. Since the submission of Bittrex’s application, the Department has issued several deficiency letters, among others regarding Bittrex’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) compliance requirements and coin listing processes. It further has extensively engaged with Bittrex to outline the necessary steps to satisfy the Department’s licensure requirements.”
Citing a few deficiencies, the Department stated that it was turning down the application due to Bittrex’s failure to demonstrate that it would run its business honestly and fairly.
The exchange released a statement, giving out its version of the story. In the statement it said, “First, and foremost, we adamantly disagree with NYDFS’ claims and allegations in regard to our anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance practices. Corporate responsibility is in our DNA and our commitment to regulatory and compliance guidelines is second to none.” Countering NYDFS’ claims it further added, “More specifically, today’s letter contains several factual inaccuracies that we feel must be addressed:
Internal Policies, Procedures and Controls
- Bittrex implemented transaction monitoring, and is in the process of fully automating that process
- Bittrex maintains a risk assessment framework, approved by outside counsel, and fully trains all company employees in its AML policies and procedures
- Bittrex screens for SDNs when a customer opens an account, and tracks all SDN updates from OFAC, checking our customer upon notice; we are enabling continuous automated screening with a new system going into effect this quarter.
This news does come as a bit of a blow to Bittrex and its users, especially since Bittrex launched an over the counter (OTC) trading desk, following in the footsteps of Circle, OKEx and Bitfinex, earlier this year.
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