NYDFS sets up a new division for licensing of cryptocurrency firms

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has created a new Research and Innovation Division that will oversee the licensing of cryptocurrency firms.

The division will be responsible for “licensing and supervising virtual currencies,” such as BitLicense, address financial inclusion, as well as protect consumer data rights, according to an announcement on Tuesday.  

“The financial services regulatory landscape needs to evolve and adapt as innovation in banking, insurance and regulatory technology continues to grow,” said Linda A. Lacewell, NYDFS superintendent.

The department has also appointed four executives within the division. Matthew Homer, who most recently worked at fintech startup Plaid, will lead the new division as executive deputy superintendent. Matthew Siegel and Olivia Bumgardner will serve as deputy superintendents of the new division, and Andrew Lucas as counsel to the division.

Siegel most recently worked as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bumgardner currently serves as the director of research at NYDFS, while Lucas previously served as the department’s director for the Office of Financial Innovation.

NYDFS has approved over 20 virtual currency businesses to date, most recently awarding licenses to two subsidiaries of cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX - Seed Digital Commodities Market and Zero Hash.