Institutional cryptocurrency exchange and BitLicense charter recipient itBit has announced that it has received approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to list four new cryptocurrencies: ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), and stellar (XLM).
ItBit, which says it operates the second-largest US bitcoin trading platform by total volume, announced on Thursday that the NYDFS had approved its request to list these assets, including Stellar’s lumens token, which has not yet been available on any New York-based exchange.
In addition to its professional cryptocurrency exchange — which is only available to institutions and other high volume traders — itBit operates an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk and provides investors with qualified custodial services. Clients will now have access to ETH, BCH, LTC, and XLM across all of those platforms.
“This is an important milestone for itBit as we create a broader platform for crypto asset investors. 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,” said Chad Cascarilla, CEO of itBit. “Regulatory oversight and security have always been at the forefront of building our platform. We are thrilled to be able to offer these new services to our customers.”
As CCN.com has reported, just five companies have received a BitLicense from the NYDFS, which oversees one of the most restrictive cryptocurrency regulatory frameworks in North America. While itBit has not received one of these licenses, it has received approval to operate in New York as a trust chartered company regulated by the NYDFS.
The state, an important hub for the global financial sector, has been described by cryptocurrency industry executives as a “crypto backwater,” while Maria T. Vallo, superintendent of the NYDFS, has criticized those who favor reduced regulation. “Toddlers play in the sandbox,” she said earlier this month. “Adults play by the rules.”
Andrew Chang, COO of itBit, said that gaining regulatory approval to list these four assets is a “critical moment” for enabling institutional investors to obtain deeper exposure to the cryptocurrency markets.
“By gaining this regulatory approval, we are now able to open the doors for individuals and institutions to access crypto assets beyond just Bitcoin,” he said. “This is a critical moment that will enable greater participation in these assets in a regulated and safe manner.”
Many cryptocurrency analysts have predicted that increased interest from institutional investors will fuel the market’s next bull run. However, institutions have yet to make meaningful investments in the space, and the bitcoin price has trended down throughout the year.
ItBit’s Cascarilla told CCN.com in an email interview that the cryptocurrency industry needs to provide institutions with “more reliability” to attract institutional capital into the ecosystem.
“The crypto space needs to offer more reliability (safety, connectivity and regulated status), products (new assets, collateral services) and features (more order types, etc),” he said.
Update 6/14: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that itBit has a full BitLicense. It has been updated to reflect that the firm is a “trust chartered company regulate by the NYDFS” under the BitLicense framework.
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