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Policy & Regulation

Kentucky orders BlockFi to Stop offering its services 

31 Jul 2021 : 15:14
2 min read
  • The Kentucky securities regulator has ruled that the lender must stop opening new accounts
  • BlockFi will have the chance to present evidence that it does not violate securities laws
  • The regulatory pressure in the crypto market has increased in recent weeks

The Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions is now the fifth state regulator to allege that BlockFi’s interest service violates state securities laws. The company is ordered to stop allowing users to open new accounts in the state.

The lender must stop opening new accounts in the state

Kentucky’s securities regulator has ruled that the lender must stop opening new accounts in the state. With this decision, Kentucky joins the states of New Jersey, Alabama, Vermont, and Texas in claiming that BlockFi interest accounts (BIAs) violate state securities laws.

“‘Blockfi’s website offers cryptocurrency lending and borrowing services through ‘Blockfi Interest Accounts’ (BIAs) advertised on its website. Through these accounts, investors can deposit certain cryptocurrencies with the company in exchange for a specified interest rate. The company has accepted nearly $15 billion in these accounts from investors,” the regulator said in its press release.

BlockFi responded to the situation by announcing that it would no longer accept new customers in Kentucky “immediately.”

Existing customers will not be affected. Kentucky has joined Texas in seeking a temporary restraining order, while New Jersey, Alabama, and Vermont have filed “show-cause” orders.

BlockFi does not believe BIAs violate securities laws

The company has come under pressure over claims that BIAs violate securities laws. Customers pool their funds with the company, which then lends them out to make a profit. For its part, BlockFi has maintained that it does not believe BIAs violate securities laws in any of the states in which it operates.

Several states, making allegations against BlockFi have given the company an opportunity to present evidence to support its claims. New Jersey has given BlockFi until early September to respond, while Texas securities regulators have scheduled a hearing for early October.

Regulatory pressure in the market has increased

BlockFi is not the only one to have experienced regulatory pressure in recent weeks. Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has also come under pressure in a number of countries, including Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Ontario, Canada. The company also announced that it will no longer offer derivatives to users in several European countries. 

In addition, Uniswap Labs said it is restricting access to dozens of tokens on its trading interface app. The reason for the restriction is that the protocol oversees an evolving regulatory landscape. Uniswap made the decision weeks after a meeting between top US regulators and key players in the decentralized finance space.

Stan Colenbrander

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