On Tuesday, April 17th, 13 cryptocurrency exchanges were slapped with a letter by the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The letter requested these cryptocurrency exchanges to provide information about “their operations, usage of bots, conflicts of interest, outages, and other key issues.” The Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative was also launched by the AG.
Schneiderman gave a statement on this topic which reads, “With the increasing acceptance of cryptocurrencies, customers in New York and across the entire nation are entitled to the right of accountability and transparency when investing their money. However, many times consumers are not provided with the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, security, and integrity of these trading platforms,”, his statement further reads, “Our Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative aims to change that, promoting the accountability and transparency in the cryptocurrency marketplace that is well deserved by investors and consumers.”
As part of AG’s detailed inquiry, exchanges have been requested to submit answers to a questionnaire, providing information on six subject areas. These are:
1) proprietorship and control,
2) fundamental activity and expenses,
3) trading policies and techniques,
4) outages and different suspensions of trading,
5) inside controls, and
6) security and money laundering
The AG’s office clarified that it has also issued a request for cryptocurrency exchanges to describe their efforts towards battling suspicious trading and market manipulation, their limitations on the use of and access to non-public trading information, their policies on the operation of bots and the safety measures they have set up to protect customer funds from theft, fraud, and other risks. Then after analyzing the answers, the AG’s Bureau plans to compare the data across several platforms and publicly display its findings.
It is quite the known fact that New York initiated the BitLicense, a business license for cryptocurrency activities. bitFlyer USA, Inc, XRP II, LLC (an affiliate of Ripple Labs), Coinbase Inc, and Circle Internet Financial are some of the companies which possess the BitLicense. It is also quite significant to see that another prominent cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, has actually been sanctioned as a restricted purpose trust company.
In an attempt to remind licensed cryptocurrency organizations of their responsibilities, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) went on to issue guidance.