As the full list of comments on BitLicense is revealed, the list of contributors and their requests makes for interesting reading – even including a potentially prominent new critic of the scheme.
Western Union and Amazon feature notably among the several thousand contributors, whose full texts were released yesterday and confirmed by Benjamin Lawsky on Twitter.
All 3,746 public comments DFS received on Bitlicense now live on our site. Revised reg should be out later this month t.co/cvkrFrwjMx— Ben Lawsky (@BenLawsky) 3rd december 2014
They reveal Western Union calling for all Bitcoin ATM installations to be ratified by Benjamin Lawsky himself, as well as for the company itself to be exempt from the regulations even if it were to deal in digital currencies in future.
“The Final Rule Should Expressly Clarify that Engaging in Money Transmission Activity by a MT [money transmitter] Licensee or Non-Financial Activity that Supports a VC Licensee is Not a Virtual Currency Business Activity,” Western Union stated.
Media pressure and recent publicity blunders have forced Western Union to cement its stance on cryptocurrency.
Walmart is vocal about the proposals affecting gift cards and vouchers, while Amazon highlighted the risks posed to its alternative payment methods such as prepaid cards and suggested the “definitions” of virtual currency be made less “broad.”
“They want to maintain control, and not have their incumbent power disrupted, so they use pressure tactics to get exempt while forcing Bitcoin and other crypto currencies to be stuck with the burdensome, and inflexibility the BitLicense brings,” uBITquity COO Nathan Wosnack told Cointelegraph. “It's ridiculous.”
The comments are to be found amid a sea of submissions from private individuals, some of which are left unsigned. An interesting standout signature is that of a certain Bill Clinton, whose entry, despite carrying doubts of authenticity, makes some interesting points critical of BitLicense. The comment reads:
“The current framework threatens the privacy of virtual currency users, innovators, and researchers. […] it infringes on the privacy rights of individual users […]. 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.”
The author also refers to the broadness of definitions contained in the literature, and cites “First Amendment concerns,” but does not provide further detail as to what these entail.
“The NY DFS [New York Department of Financial Services] is letting the fear of money laundering drive a massive regulatory proposal forward that would affect users who are doing nothing wrong,” ‘Clinton’ concludes. “NY DFS should respect the privacy of technology users, and limit its regulation to what is proportionate to the real threat at hand.”
“It's a good thing that the DFS is being transparent and giving us an opportunity to view the comments for public consumption and feedback,” Wosnack added. “It gives us an idea about what the public and those in our community think; from those in the crypto space who are against this, and those who are willing to ‘meet half way’ or toe the line, so to speak, to appease regulatory bodies.”
Meanwhile, Walmart’s concerns about prepaid card exemption reflect recent criticism of Bitcoin by MasterCard, whose stance nonetheless may strike some as hypocritical.
Having expressed criticism of digital currencies’ anonymity in a recent submission to the Australian tax authorities, MasterCard is seemingly ignoring its own anonymous prepaid cards, which may be loaded and spent at least once without registration, depending upon the specific product.
While banks underpinning such products are subject to regulations at government level, which impose limits on anonymous spending, these often do not take into account the ability to purchase multiple cards, increasing available funds several times, as Reddit user u/martypete explains.
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