N.Y.'s Lawsky: We Hope Regulatory Clarity Will Attract Bitcoin Exchanges

N.Y.'s Lawsky: We Hope Regulatory Clarity Will Attract Bitcoin Exchanges Ben Lawsky, New York’s top regulator, gave off mostly positive vibes in a Reddit AMA Thursday, saying he hopes regulations will allay U.S. banks’ fears of dealing with bitcoin businesses and even attract major bitcoin exchanges which are avoiding this country, for now.
Over the next few months, Lawsky is poised to become the first U.S. state regulator to impose bitcoin-specific rules for businesses and financial institutions. Lawsky, who is superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, presided over two days of fact-finding hearings last month which attracted a global audience.
“We hope regulatory clarity will attract (bitcoin) exchanges to the United States,” Lawsky said in a response to one of the posted Reddit questions. “I suspect that they are staying offshore right now because they don’t know what the rules of the road here are or will be.”
Lawsky also said he hopes that regulations will create “a level of certainty that could incentivize banks to promote not stifle these innovations” related to cryptocurrencies.
The regulator said he suspects there are banks who are interested in cryptocurrenies “but are being risk averse for now in the absence of regulatory clarity.”
Many bitcoiners who regularly post on Reddit have complained that U.S. banks have closed accounts because of customers’ bitcoin activity.
“Some merchants are afraid that they will loss their bank account if they get involved with Bitcoin, as already happened to some of them,” posted a Redditor.
Lawsky’s response:
“I can’t tell you exactly why particular banks are taking certain actions but they may have some concerns related to Bitcoin being new, its price volatility, as well as the recent criminal cases. I think new, careful regulations, especially related to preventing money laundering, will make banks more comfortable with Bitcoin-related activity over time.”
Read the full Reddit AMA.

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