San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will reportedly not comply with the New York attorney general’s recent inquiry searching for “key information” from over a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges.
The press release from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office stated:
As part of a broader effort to protect cryptocurrency investors and consumers, the Attorney General’s office sent letters to thirteen major virtual currency trading platforms requesting key information on their operations, internal controls, and safeguards to protect customer assets. As the letters explain, the Initiative seeks to increase transparency and accountability as it relates to the platforms retail investors rely on to trade virtual currency, and better inform enforcement agencies, investors, and consumers.
Attached to these inquiries was a questionnaire to provide information on six topics including “(1)Ownership and control, (2) Basic operation and fees, (3) Trading policies and procedures, (4) Outages and other suspensions of trading, (5) Internal controls, and (6) Privacy money and laundering.”
The statement required that the information requested to be completed and shared by May 1st. According to CNBC, Coinbase, the Gemini Trust, bitFlyer USA and other cryptocurrency exchanges indicated support for the inquiry.
However, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell shared a strongly worded response rebuking the inquiry. Powell took to Twitter to express his opposition to the AG inquiry, which he described as “insulting.”
Somebody has to say what everybody's actually thinking about the NYAG's inquiry. The placative kowtowing toward this kind of abuse sends the message that it's ok. It's not ok. It's insulting. https://t.co/sta9VuXPK1 pic.twitter.com/4Jg66bia1I
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) April 18, 2018
Powell noted that Kraken is ordinarily open to helping and communicating with regulators. He criticized the New York AG’s office for being “tone-deaf” and called the state a “hostile” location for businesses including cryptocurrency-focused companies.
Powell highlighted a different option for New York to fulfill its need for information, adding, “If you want to talk to us, ask us for a phone call, fly yourself out to San Francisco, invite us for lunch at your office….But when is it going to be enough for New York? We did all this once already, and then you gave us the BitLicense.”
As Powell alluded to in his comments, Kraken halted operations in New York in 2015 after the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) introduced the controversial BitLicense. The New York ruling on the BitLicense has been referred to as a “Bitcoin Exodus.”
In a more extensive post published April 22, Powell explained Kraken’s viewpoints about regulation in detail. “Kraken’s recent response to the NYAG’s questionnaire should not be taken as an indication that Kraken is opposed to working with government,” Powell wrote. He went on to list ten specific issues he found with the agency’s request, including the deadline, the quality of the preparation of the inquiry, the confidentiality issues related to some requested information, and the “motives” of the NYAG. Powell’s post can be read in full here.
According to a report from MarketWatch, the AG’s office sent an email to MarketWatch claiming that “they have ‘enforcement jurisdiction over foreign businesses [meaning those based outside of New York] operating in New York.'”