Recently, New York State became the first state in the nation to create a cryptocurrency task force to study how to properly regulate, define and use cryptocurrency. Last week, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, signed into law THE DIGITAL CURRENCY STUDY BILL, A8783B/S9013.
The members of the task force, appointed by the Governor, Senate and Assembly, are to submit reports by December 15, 2020. The members will include stakeholders such as, technologists, consumers, institutional and small investors, large and small blockchain enterprises and academics. The group shall report on digital currency, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple are digital assets designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure transactions.
Cryptocurrency, however, is more than just an asset that stores value. It is used as currency, a means to exchange for goods and services. It is also used to record contracts and transactions. Cryptocurrency tokens are also used as utility tokens that can record or store information; from how long someone browses a website to rewarding behaviors.
Even more interestingly, the technology that undergirds cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, can be used in countless applications in the public and private sectors to improve transparency and efficiency. In fact, our government should consider blockchain uses with elections, the recordation of vital records and real estate transactions; to name a few.
Surprisingly, cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, is still at its infancy stage. The document explaining blockchain technology, THE BITCOIN WHITEPAPER, was published on October 31, 2008, almost ten years ago.
In the early days, too often there were instances of Bitcoin exchanges getting hacked and people losing their holdings. In response to a major exchange compromise, in 2015, under Governor Cuomo, New York State’s Department of Financial Services promulgated the BitLicense to protect New Yorkers on cryptocurrency exchanges. New York was first to act and to this day, the BitLicense is modeled by many states and countries.
It has been in ten years since the advent of cryptocurrency. It has been nearly four years since the implementation of the BitLicense. In the cryptocurrency space and technology in general, a few months is equivalent to years.
Clyde Vanel, NYS Assemblyman, Chair of Subcommittee on Internet and New Technologies:
“New York leads the country in finance. We will also lead in proper fintech regulation. The task force of experts will help us strike the balance between having a robust blockchain industry and cryptocurrency economic environment while at the same time protecting New York investors and consumers.”
Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC:
“Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will, without a doubt, greatly impact finance and many other industries across the globe for years to come. New York’s cryptocurrency task force – the first of its kind in the nation – shows how our state is leading the way in studying and understanding these technologies to ensure they can thrive in a responsible and effective way, further solidifying New York’s position as a global hub for smart innovation.”
NYS Assemblyman Ed Ra:
“New York must properly balance consumer protection with creating an environment ripe for investment and innovation in New York State. “Convening experts and stakeholders is a good step forward and I thank Assemblyman Vanel for this leadership on this issue.”
NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim:
“I want to thank my friend and colleague Assemblyman Clyde Vanel for working hard and creating this task force to examine how we need to improve the way we view and embrace crypto currency and blockchain technology in New York. I look forward to working with him and others to bring in the next chapter of decentralization, which can help build more resilient local economies.”
NYS Assemblyman David Weprin
“Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are still in their infancy and the new digital currency task force will evaluate these products to protect investors and consumers. I want to thank Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, Chair of Subcommittee on Internet and New Technologies, for recognizing that New York must keep pace with the ever-changing innovation in the financial sector.”