In April, then NY Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, launched the Markets Integrity Initiative. This initiative sought detailed information from 13 cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the United States. Schneiderman claimed that the questionnaire's aim was to increase accountability and transparency of exchanges and to provide greater information to regulating entities, consumers and investors, alike. However, this request was met with some resistance from some. Kraken's CEO, Jesse Powell, whose exchange left New York in 2016, fired back at the request calling it 'audacious' to request a detailed, 34-point questionnaire to be submitted in a short, two-week timeframe. ShapeShift CEO, Erik Voorhees also railed against the request calling it "pathetic" and citing that with only a four firms receiving this BitLicense in three years, "That's the rate of innovation in New York."
Since this controversial request was released, Eric Schneiderman has faced allegations of sexual misconduct and abruptly resigned from his position as NYAG. However, despite not yet appointing a replacement for Schneiderman's position as attorney general, many exchanges have continued to comply with the request, and now a new BitLicense has been issued to Genesis Global Trading.
Genesis Global Trading has already been operating in New York, under a provision of safe harbor. Genesis Global Trading focuses on the needs of large-scale trades with institutional investors. They offer trading in Bitcoin, Ether, ETC (Ethereum Classic), Litecoin, Zcash, Rippple (XRP) and Bcash (BCH). Their exchange operates utilizing OTC (over-the-counter) trades, which prevent large-scale trades from drastically affecting market prices. Genesis Global Trading is only the fifth exchange to be approved for New York's BitLicense since its creation, in 2015. Genesis Global's CEO, Michael Moro, had this to say about his exchange's approval:
"Although we have operated under a safe harbor provision in recent years, today’s decision is an important step forward and reaffirms the robust compliance measures we have enacted as an established trading partner."
Genesis Global Trading now joins the likes of Circle, XRP II, Coinbase and bitFlyer in obtaining the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS)'s BitLicense, while many others have been denied, or still pending approval, others have opted out all-together. Cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfiniex, expressed their decision to opt out in a message to customers by stating, "In its current form, the requirements set forth by the BitLicense are extremely invasive and would compromise the majority of our user base’s privacy." Similarly, GoCoin's CEO, Steve Beauregard, expressed in a Reuters interview, “It’s too overreaching and burdensome, especially for the smaller companies.”