Below is a summary of some of the significant legal and regulatory actions that occurred over the past week. This alert is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all such developments, but rather a selection of publicly-reported news that may be of particular interest.
US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) director Jennifer Shasky Calvery said during a speech at the 2015 West Coast Anti-Money Laundering Forum in San Francisco that her agency recently launched a series of supervisory examinations of businesses in the virtual currency industry.
Connecticut. The Connecticut House of Representatives has passed a bill that would give the state’s top financial regulator new powers to oversee parts of the local digital currency industry. If signed into law, Substitute House Bill No. 6800 would require a company seeking a money transmission license from the Connecticut Banking Department to specify that it plans to offer digital currency services. State regulators would then be empowered to assess whether or not to reject that applicant’s request based on the potential risks to consumers. Passed unanimously in the House on May 6, the bill now moves to the Senate for approval. If approved and signed by Connecticut Governor Dannel P Malloy, the bill would also put in place new laws regarding payday loans, mortgages and consumer credit reporting.
ItBit. A Bitcoin exchange, itBit was able to obtain a trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). ItBit offers institutional and retail investors a platform to buy and sell bitcoin.
Isle of Man. The Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development announced its plans to experiment the first government-run blockchain project. Currently, digital companies make up 20% of its GDP. Using proof-of-stake protocol Credits, developed by local start-up Pythia, the department will create a stand-alone register of digital currency companies operating on the island. This is a step towards the use of blockchain technology within government.