There’s a variety of feelings surrounding the BitLicense proposal, and it seems like an overwhelming amount of folks just aren’t pleased with where the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) is taking this whole initiative.
That includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The non-profit organization focused on digital rights has established a new webpage spotlighting the BitLicense and, well, their attempts to get the proposal from moving forward.
[blockquote style=”2″]The State of New York is proposing a “BitLicense” for people creating and innovating around virtual currencies like Bitcoin. It’s bad news for privacy and free speech. But we have a chance to change the proposal or even stop it altogether. Send a letter to the New York Department of Financial Services today.[/blockquote]
The basis of the page is to encourage community action. One of the ways they are getting that done is by providing users with a “suggested text” letter, which can be emailed to the NYDFS via shortcuts on the right-hand side of the page.
The letter reads:
Dear Superintendent Lawsky and General Counsel Syracuse,
I’m writing you today to express my deep concerns about the “BitLicense” proposal. The current framework threatens the privacy of virtual currency users, innovators, and researchers. In particular:
1. The BitLicense is extremely broad, requiring licenses for far more than just money services.
2. It infringes on the privacy rights of individual users. Companies that obtain a BitLicense could be forced to collect identifying data on account holders and end users including full name and physical address. This information will be kept on file for 10 years in case the government seeks it. So while individual users may not need a BitLicense, their privacy will be seriously affected.
3. It forces virtual currency innovators to undergo rigorous background checks and submit fingerprints to state and federal law enforcement. This will create a barrier to entry for start ups and inventors looking to create new services.
4. The proposal as written raises First Amendment concerns.
It’s premature to craft regulations for an industry that’s so new and still in flux. Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies are still in their infancy, and we don’t yet know what new tools and services might be created. This regulatory proposal could cut that innovation off at the knees, before we have a chance to see the potential societal benefits.
The NYDFS is letting the fear of money laundering drive a massive regulatory proposal forward that would affect users who are doing nothing wrong. NYDFS should respect the privacy of technology users, and limit its regulation to what is proportionate to the real threat at hand.
As expected, part of the bitcoin community is very much applauding the EFF’s move on this front.
“EFF continuing to be awesome. Everyone should be donating to them,” wrote one user on Reddit in response to the webpage.
Another user chimed in, “Yes, we should all get behind the EFF.”
If you would like additional information on the EFF’s initiative on this front, visit this link.