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Circle Becomes First BitLicense-Approved Bitcoin Company

Reading Time: 2 minutes by on October 5, 2015 Business, Finance, News, Regulation
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On September 22, 2105, Circle announced that it is now compliant with BitLicense, thus expanding its services to include residents of New York State.

“We founded Circle to help people share value in the same way they share other kinds of content and messages on the Internet: for free, safely, and instantly anywhere in the world,” the company stated in the blog post. “That vision includes everyone everywhere, and it isn’t limited to one currency we share with friends and family — it spans them all.”

Bit License has been a controversial topic within the Bitcoin community. Many Bitcoin heavyweights such as Shapeshift and Bitfinex are now refusing to provide service to New York residents due to the measures these companies would have to take in order to comply with regulations, not to mention the costs.

While exact figures vary depending on each company’s unique conditions, some of the bigger companies would have to pay upwards of $100,000, on top of any future costs BitLicense would incur. The sheer cost would be enough to turn many companies away, but in situations like LocalBitcoin, each trader on the website would have to pay $5,000 to be in compliance.

Circle is an exception. So far, the NYDFS has received 25 license applications, but Circle is the only one so far to receive their approval.

We are the first company to be granted a BitLicense, and we also hold a Money Transfer License for US dollar transactions in the state of New York. We want to help people everywhere around the globe, and that includes New Yorkers.”

While Circle did get approved and licensed by BitLicense, this was not before Circle had concerns and made comments on the current state of the regulations.

We’ve been fairly vocal about our concerns with the BitLicense, especially in its initial incarnation. Many of those issues were resolved, and though still not perfect, the BitLicense and its requirements became clear and irrefutable prerequisites for serving and supporting everyone in New York.

Other announcements made in the blog post included:

  •         Debit cards – Circle Pay now supports debit cards, which provide a balance between the free usage of bank accounts and the fast transaction times of credit cards. With debit cards, you receive the money instantly, and Circle charges no fees.
  •         Increased Limits – Limits for buying, selling, and withdrawing have increased to a ceiling of $3,000. Most customers will start at a $300 limit, however, and can gradually “unlock” higher limits.
  •         FDIC insurance on US dollar deposits – this ensures 100% of customer funds are protected from any unlikely events like hacks, theft, or loss of funds. FDIC insurance mirrors Circle’s policy of fully insuring Bitcoin funds.

The mobile app also has been updated for faster and easier signup. For the full details, visit Circle blog.

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