New York Approves Bitcoin Wallet Company Xapo’s BitLicense


The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has granted a BitLicense to the digital financial services company Xapo, bringing the total number of approved charters and licenses for virtual currency firms up to eight.

According to an announcement from the DFS, Xapo will be authorized to «offer a digital wallet and a vault service, which is intended as a safe and insured method to store Bitcoins.»

The BitLicense approval process involves an extensive review of the applicant’s policies, including its anti-fraud, consumer protection, and cybersecurity practices. These regulations have been widely criticized for being expensive and overly invasive.

Since the requirement was implemented in 2015, few companies have had their BitLicense applications approved, while a dozen or more applications remain pending. Xapo will join a select group of licensees: bitFlyer USA, Circle Internet Financial, Coinbase, Genesis Global Trading, and XRP II, are currently the only other holders of BitLicenses.

However, two other digital finance companies, Gemini Trust Company and Paxos, have been issued charters to operate in New York.

One of the chartered companies, according to the DHS announcement, has been granted permission to expand their services. Paxos (which formerly operated under the name itBit) has possessed a charter from the DFS since May 2015, but now has permission to expand its services to include trading bitcoin cash, Ether, Litecoin, and Stellar Lumens.