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Bitcoin companies subpoenaed as New York financial regulators dig for answers

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Bitcoin suitcase
Bitcoin suitcase

New York financial regulators are asking the Bitcoin industry tough questions as they mull new guidelines to try and rein in virtual currencies. The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York Department of Financial Services has issued subpoenas to roughly two dozen companies connected to Bitcoin, asking questions related to programs against money laundering, investment strategies, and consumer protections. BitInstant, Coinsetter, and other companies — including some backed by the Winklevoss brothers and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz — were reportedly among those to be served.

As the Journal points out, a subpoena is a legally-enforceable request for information and not itself indicative of any misconduct. That said, The New York Department of Financial Services is also planning to release a memo on Monday detailing its concerns about Bitcoin companies’ failure to follow state money transmission laws.

News of the subpoenas comes as a US district court ruled last week that Bitcoins met the legal standard for currency, writing, "it is clear that Bitcoin can be used as money." We have reached out to a handful of companies about the recent incidents in New York and will update you if and when we hear back.