A reporter from CoinDesk reached out yesterday to ask if there were any questions I had in relation to the final version of the BitLicense being released.
They subsequently posted a follow-up story with one of the comments I sent. Below are the remaining questions and comments that came to mind after quickly reading through the final BitLicense.
The current wording in the final version still seems to leaves a few unanswered questions:
1) When a miner (hasher) sends work to a pool, the pool typically keeps the reward money on the pool before sending it to the miner or until the miner manually removes it. Would mining pools be considered a custodian or depository institution since they control this asset? What if a pool begins offering other services to the miner and these assets remain on the pool? (e.g., some pools have vertically integrated with exchanges) Update: The mining pool BTC Guild has announced it is closing down and citing concerns over the BitLicense with respect to these issues.
2) Are there any distinguishing factors or characteristics for entities that issue or reissue virtual currencies? For instance, both non-profit groups (like Counterparty, Augur) and for-profit organizations (like Factom, Gems) issued virtual currencies and it appears that federated nodes that operate a sidechain, in theory, will effectively (re)issue assets as well. Are they all custodians? In light of the FinCEN enforcement action with Ripple, do these projects need to be filing suspicious activity reports (SAR) as well?
3) How hosted wallets comply with 200.9(c) and whether startups like Coinbase violate that given this UCC filing (pdf)? (E.g., assuming the bitcoins held by Coinbase for customers are covered by the filing, it seems as if it could violate 200.9)