On December 15, NYDFS released virtual currency guidance for regulated banking institutions and licensed branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations. NYDFS reminded covered institutions that they must seek prior approval at least 90 days before engaging in any new or significantly different virtual currency-related activity. The agency noted that this requirement also applies in situations where any portion of the activity will be handled by a third party. The guidance outlines the process institutions should observe for seeking prior approval and summarizes the following categories of information that the agency will consider when assessing proposals: business plan, risk management, corporate governance and oversight, consumer protection, financials, and legal and regulatory analysis. The guidance includes a supplemental checklist of initial documents and required information.
NYDFS reiterated that prior approvals “to engage in virtual currency-related activity does not constitute general consent for that institution to engage in other types of virtual currency-related activity, nor does it authorize other Covered Institutions to undertake that same activity.” Institutions already engaging in virtual-currency related activities should immediately notify NYDFS, if they have not already done so. The guidance, which is not intended to limit the scope or applicability of any law or regulation, is effective as of its release date and applies to all regulated institutions for all virtual currency-related activities.
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