In a recent update to its virtual currency oversight regime, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has made significant changes to its “greenlist” of approved tokens, which has garnered attention within the crypto industry. The move by the DFS involves the removal of Ripple and Dogecoin from the list, among over two dozen other tokens. This development has implications for digital firms licensed by the agency, as it introduces new criteria for listing various cryptocurrencies.
Introduction to the DFS Update
The New York Department of Financial Services, a leading digital asset supervisor, has long been recognized for its BitLicense program and virtual currency unit. While the department has faced criticism for its rigorous licensing process, the latest guidance demonstrates DFS’ measured approach to crypto regulation. In contrast to other state and federal agencies that have resorted to enforcement actions, DFS has opted for a more proactive and supervisory role.
The Token Greenlist and its Evolution
The token greenlist plays a crucial role in DFS’ broader crypto supervision efforts. Under the previous guidance, firms licensed through DFS’s virtual currency program could gain approval to custody and list tokens via a self-certification system, which streamlined the process while maintaining DFS’ supervisory oversight. Once two firms had self-certified a token for custody or listing, the cryptocurrency would be included in the DFS greenlist. This meant that any DFS-licensed firm could then approve the token for custody or listing, facilitating the use of the approved tokens.
Changes in the Greenlist
The latest update from the DFS introduces a new general framework for greenlisted coins, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of approved tokens. The previous greenlist included 25 tokens approved for custody, listing, or both. However, the updated greenlist now comprises only eight tokens. Notably, Ripple, Dogecoin, and Litecoin have been removed from the list, while Bitcoin, Ether, and the new PayPal Dollar remain.
DFS’ Expectations and Risk Assessment Standards
Alongside the greenlist update, DFS has released guidance clarifying its expectations for coin-listing and delisting policies of DFS-regulated entities. The department aims to enhance risk assessment standards for coin-listing policies and strengthen requirements for retail customer-facing businesses. This marks a departure from the previous self-certification system, signaling DFS’ commitment to ensuring the protection of users and mitigating potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
DFS’ Strict Oversight Role
Under Superintendent Adrienne Harris, DFS has assumed a strict oversight role during the crypto bear market. The department has taken action against several cryptocurrency companies, including imposing a $100 million settlement on Coinbase for compliance program failures. Additionally, DFS ordered Paxos to halt the issuance of BUSD, a prominent stablecoin issued in partnership with Binance. DFS’ proactive stance in regulating the crypto industry has earned both praise and begrudging respect from various stakeholders.
Implications for Crypto Firms
The updated greenlist presents an ongoing challenge for crypto firms, particularly exchanges, as they navigate the complexities of regulatory uncertainty. Determining which tokens to include while complying with evolving regulations poses a delicate balancing act. With DFS’ updated guidance, crypto firms will need to revise their coin-listing and delisting policies to align with the heightened risk assessment standards and mitigate potential impacts on users.
The New York Department of Financial Services’ recent update to its token greenlist, which involves the removal of Ripple and Dogecoin, reflects the agency’s commitment to ensuring a measured approach to crypto regulation. By introducing new criteria for listing cryptocurrencies and strengthening risk assessment standards, DFS aims to enhance the protection of users and maintain transparency in the rapidly evolving crypto landscape. As the crypto industry continues to evolve, regulatory clarity and proactive oversight will play a crucial role in fostering trust and stability.
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