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ItBit Exchange Adds 4 New Cryptos for Investors

Cryptocurrency exchange itBit says it has received approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to add four major cryptocurrencies to its trading and custody services.

In addition to bitcoin, itBit will now offer custody, escrow and over-the-counter (OTC) trading services for bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC) and stellar lumens (XLM), with platform exchange trading to follow, according to a press release.

As the very first company to be granted a charter under the New York Banking Law by the NYDFS as a licensed cryptocurrency exchange, its latest regulatory approval set new standards for what is possible for exchange platforms operating in the state.

“We are committed to the growth and evolution of this ecosystem,” said Charles Cascarilla, CEO and co-founder of itBit.

In regards to the firm’s relationship with the DFS, Carcarilla told CoinDesk in an email that “the DFS has been very innovative in the way they have viewed the crypto-asset ecosystem” and that he looked forward to “continued collaboration in the future.”

In a rebrand back in 2016, the company shifted to the name Paxos, while the itBit brand was kept solely for its exchange business. ItBit still operates as a separate division from others that take a focus on advancing private blockchain projects such as Bankchain.

Just last month, Paxos closed a $65 million Series B funding round led by existing investors including Liberty City Ventures, RRE Ventures and Jay Jordan.

As a cryptocurrency exchange offering a variety of trading services, itBit’s expanded license is envisioned to “open the doors for individuals and institutions to access crypto assets beyond just bitcoin,” Andrew Chang, COO of itBit, said in the release.

Cryptocurrency image via Shutterstock

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Former BTC-only Exchange ItBit Gets NY Regulatory Approval to Add Four New Crypto Assets

Formerly Bitcoin (BTC)-only exchange itBit has received approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to add trading in four new cryptocurrencies, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph June 14.

In addition to BTC trading, the platform will now be offering trading and custody services for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Stellar (XLM).

ItBit is the 31st largest crypto exchange in the world by 24-hour trading volume, according to data from CoinMarketCap, seeing about $54.2 mln in trades on the day to press time.

The newly added crypto assets will have custody, escrow and over-the-counter (OTC) services available immediately. The press release notes that itBit is the “first NYDFS-approved Trust company to offer trading and custody services for crypto assets,” and the first to receive Department of Financial Services (DFS) approval to trade Stellar in New York.

CEO of itBit Charles Cascarilla said in the press release that the addition of these four crypto assets is “an important milestone for itBit as we create a broader platform for crypto asset investors,” continuing:

“We are committed to the growth and evolution of this ecosystem and DFS approval allows us to offer more trading and custody services across a wider range of crypto assets.”

ItBit has been the target of multiple regulatory probes in the U.S. recently. The platform was one of the crypto exchanges that received a questionnaire as part of the New York Attorney General’s cryptocurrency trading platform probe in April, and has also fallen under the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) crypto probe as one of the exchanges on which CME Group bases its Bitcoin futures trading.

When asked about the current climate of government interest in the crypto sector, Cascarilla told Cointelegraph:

“As the marketplace evolves and innovates with new technology, so too does oversight. We support all market participants, exchanges, regulators in having a dialogue to enhance transparency and find common ground.”

At the beginning of June, the banks committee of the New York state legislature voted to progress a bill on the creation of a digital currency task force that would study the effects of cryptocurrencies on financial markets in NYC.

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Binance, Bitfinex and More: New York Launches 'Inquiry' Into 13 Crypto Exchanges

New York’s attorney general is taking a closer look at some of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” on Tuesday, saying it was “a fact-finding inquiry into the policies and practices” of cryptocurrency trading platforms. Letters were sent to 13 exchanges, seeking information about their “operations, use of bots, conflicts of interests, outages, and other key issues,” according to a press release published on Tuesday.

“With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money. Yet too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms,” Schneiderman was quoted as saying.

Letters were sent to the companies that operate GDAX, Gemini, bitFlyer, Binance, itBit, Gate.io, Huobi.Pro, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Bittrex, Kraken, Tidex and Poloniex (the latter of which was recently acquired by Circle).

According to Schneiderman, the inquiry is also focused on key issues such as “internal controls and safeguards to protect consumer assets.” In statements, Schneiderman’s office said that the effort would also focus in part on the exchanges that explicitly do not operate in New York because of regulatory concerns.

“We are aware that certain trading platforms have formal rules barring access in New York and may not have a license to engage in virtual currency business activity in New York. Among other topics, we are asking platforms to describe their measures for restricting trading from prohibited jurisdictions,” the announcement stated.

Eric Schneiderman image via a katz / Shutterstock

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Former FDIC Chair: Bitcoin Policies Shouldn't 'Feed the Frenzy'

Sheila Bair, the former chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), is arguing bitcoin shouldn’t be banned just because it doesn’t have “intrinsic value.”

In an op-ed article published on Yahoo Finance this week, Bair instead contends policies should be in place to protect investors. In the post, Bair elaborated that currency itself was once just like bitcoin — an idea assigned value by societies because people needed a medium to trade and that depended “more on psychology than physical attributes.”

She added:

“Instead of making its own value judgments about bitcoin, what government should do is first make sure our policies don’t feed the frenzy.”

While Bair’s view in supporting bitcoin is not entirely surprising given her roles as an independent advisor and director to several blockchain and cryptocurrency related projects, it is nonetheless notable given her previous capacity serving as the chair of FDIC, an agency created by the Congress to ensure financial confidence and stability.

She led the agency from 2006 to 2011.

“Since the beginning of commerce, humans have assigned value to things of no readily-apparent intrinsic worth. Particularly in the case of mediums of exchange, a.k.a. currency, we assign value simply because those with whom we transact do so as well,” Bair added.

Yet, while citing a few historical examples where the government had failed in maintaining the value of its fiat currencies, such as Germany in the 1920s and the Southeast Asian countries in the 1990s, Bair believes the role of the government should be focused on ensuring a fair and well-informed market, one free from fraud and manipulation and prohibiting bitcoin speculation from federally insured banking organizations.

Sheila Bair image via Shutterstock

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