The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced the creation it’s new Research and Innovation Division on July 23. The division will be tasked with overseeing the licensing of cryptocurrency businesses in the state.

New York’s Financial Regulator Forms New Division to Oversee Cryptocurrency Licensing

Financial Services Superintendent, Linda Lacewell, stated that the appointments will position the NYDFS as “the regulator of the future, allowing the Department to better protect consumers, develop best practices, and analyze market data to strengthen New York’s standing as the center of financial innovation.”

The new Research and Innovation Division will house the NYDFS’ ‘division responsible for licensing and supervising virtual currencies.“ Additionally, the division will be tasked with examining “new efforts to use technology to address financial exclusion,” protecting “consumer data rights,” and encouraging “innovations in the financial services marketplace to preserve New York’s competitiveness as a financial innovation hub.”

Matthew Homer, a former United States (U.S) government civil servant with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the U.S Agency for International Development, will head the division as its executive deputy superintendent. Mr. Homer also previously served as an advisor on issues pertinent to digital innovation and financial inclusion to the United Nations Capital Development Fund.

The division’s deputy superintendents are the NYDFS’ current Director of Research, Olivia Bumgardner, and former trial attorney at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Matthew Siegel. Andrew Lucas, a former senior counsel with the New York City Law Department, will serve as the division’s counsel.

New Division Tasked With BitLicense

The new Research and Innovation Division will assess licensing applications from companies seeking to obtain the state’s BitLicense – a legislative apparatus that governs business activities related to virtual currencies in New York.

Earlier this month, the NYDFS granted its 20th and 21st BitLicenses to Seed Digital Commodities Market and Zero Hash LLC – two subsidiaries of Seed CX. The regulatory regime was established in 2015.

“The financial services regulatory landscape needs to evolve and adapt as innovation in banking, insurance and regulatory technology continues to grow,” stated Mrs. Lacewell.