The initial participants in the VCA Working Group will include: Bitstamp, Inc., bitFlyer USA, Inc., Bittrex, Inc., and Gemini Trust Company, LLC. The Working Group will work towards the goal of establishing an industry-sponsored, self-regulatory organization (SRO) to oversee virtual commodity marketplaces. The VCA will have an executive director, independent board, and establish a framework for industry best practices. The VCA interim Executive Director will be Maria Filipakis. Ms. Filipakis was formerly an Executive Deputy Superintendent at the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) and was instrumental in drafting the DFS rules and regulations for virtual currency.
At the initial meeting, Working Group participants expect to discuss:
- Guidelines for membership in the VCA.
- Guidelines for best practices and rules-based marketplaces that will promote fairness, transparency, risk management, and liquidity.
- Guidelines for best practices that will address Member conflicts of interest, client communications, client disclosures, and record keeping.
- Staffing the VCA, to include an Executive Director, among others, and composition of the Board of Directors.
Ms. Filipakis stated, “I applaud the VCA and its members in their commitment to strengthen the digital asset industry's regulatory landscape, rules for the protection of customers, and bring forth industry setting best practices and market transparency.”
“We’re proud to be a part of the Virtual Commodity Association as a way to add another element of protection for consumers,” said Nejc Kodrič, Bitstamp CEO. “We believe in the value of self-regulation, which we pursued in Europe almost from our inception, and look forward to following a similar path in the U.S. Those that can’t or won’t comply with regulations put consumers – and their own operations – at risk.”
Yusuf Hussain, Gemini Trust Company LLC’s Head of Risk, stated, “This is the first of many steps in policing the digital asset markets and answering the call of regulators.”
"Regulations in the cryptocurrency space are evolving to encompass this new technology. Industry leaders with extensive knowledge and who are impacted by regulations should really be part of the conversation," said Hailey Lennon, bitFlyer USA's Director of Compliance. "bitFlyer is excited to see the start of coalitions and SROs in the US and we look forward to the formation of this working group."
“The blockchain industry must focus on protecting its customers and operating in a responsible manner to significantly increase adoption globally,” said John Roth, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer at Bittrex. “By working with the VCA, we can advance our shared goals of improving transparency, accountability and security across all virtual currency trading platforms. This effort will also complement our discussions with regulators and legislators about developing a long-term solution that creates a fully-compliant environment for blockchain while encouraging innovation, economic growth, and U.S. leadership in the industry.”
The Working Group looks forward to providing an update on its progress following its inaugural meeting and welcomes indications of interest from other organizations that would seek to participate.