April 17, 2018
Some of the startups named today in the New York Attorney General's cryptocurrency exchange "inquiry" say they welcome the move.
As CoinDesk reported on Tuesday, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an inquiry into 13 cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchanges named were Coinbase's GDAX, Gemini, bitFlyer USA, Bitfinex, Bitstamp USA, Kraken, Bittrex, Poloniex, Binance, Tidex.com, Gate.io, itBit and Huobi.Pro.
Schneiderman's office sent letters to the exchanges, along with a detailed questionnaire that probes the firms' ownership, leadership, operations, terms of service, privacy policies, trading volumes, use of "bots," relationships with financial institutions – among other areas.
CoinDesk reached out to the 13 exchanges, and as of press time, five – Gemini, Bittrex, Poloniex, bitFlyer and Bitfinex – replied. Coinbase was not immediately available to comment, and the other exchanges have yet to respond to requests.
In a statement, Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said his company "applauds" the Attorney General's inquiry, stating that "we look forward to cooperating with and submitted our responses to the questionnaire."
"We continue to embrace thoughtful regulation and collaboration on our mission to help build the future of money," he added.
A representative for Bittrex struck a similar note, also stating that the exchange welcomes the opportunity to respond: "We look forward to working with NY Attorney General Schneiderman on our shared goal of improving transparency, accountability and security across all virtual currency trading platforms."
Josh Hawkins, vice president of marketing at Circle, Poloniex's parent company, told CoinDesk:
"We welcome all initiatives focused on increasing transparency and accountability in the space and look forward to working with the New York Attorney General's office. Protecting crypto currency investors and consumers has always been Circle's first priority."
BitFlyer USA, by way of compliance director Hailey Lennon, echoed the remarks about transparency, stating: "Transparency is important for consumer protection in this industry. We received the letter from the New York Attorney General and are reviewing the requests asked of our US exchange."
Kasper Rasmussen, communications director for Bitfinex, offered a more measured comment when reached.
"We can confirm that Bitfinex is aware of the New York Attorney General's inquiry regarding our operations, controls, and general user protections. Bitfinex is committed to compliance with authorities and regulators worldwide and we look forward to responding to this inquiry."
When reached for follow-up comment on the launch of its inquiry, a spokesperson for Schneiderman's office said that "we plan to make the information public at the end of the process since the goal here is to bring much-needed transparency and accountability to the crypto marketplace."
She declined to "comment or speculate" about potential legal action against the exchanges.