Bitcoin, a virtual currency that started out as a convenient way to pay peers, has been the subject of much controversy–from the IRS trying to figure out how to get people to pay taxes on it to the SEC arguing that people who use it in Ponzi schemes should get jail time. Forbes reported that, this month, a federal judge declared Bitcoin real currency, Bloomberg gave it an experimental ticker, and most significantly, New York’s financial regulator has subpoenaed top Bitcoin companies and investors.
The New York State Department of Financial Services has called Bitcoin “a virtual Wild West for narcotraffickers and other criminals” because it isn’t tracked like other currencies and it’s not yet regulated.
The NYSDFS is determined to change things, and it’s started out by subpoenaing 22 digital-currency companies and investors nationwide to get a better understanding of Bitcoin. The subpoena asks for information about money laundering controls, consumer protection practices, source funding, pitch books, and investment strategies.