New York Assembly Introduces a Bill on the Escheat of Virtual Currency

Written by and

New York Assembly Bill 8314, introduced on June 13, 2019, would provide for the escheat of virtual currency. The bill, which also directs the comptroller to create regulations establishing when electronic communication qualifies as “written contact” from an owner, defines “virtual currency” as “any type of digital unit that is used for  a  medium of exchange or a form of digitally stored value.” The definition is meant to be broadly construed and includes decentralized currencies and those with a central depository or administrator. However, the bill excludes online gaming currencies, rewards programs, and prepaid cards from the definition of “virtual currencies.”

The bill provides a three year dormancy period for virtual currency held or owing by a banking organization, corporation, or other entity that engages in virtual currency business activity (defined in the bill). The bill also directs the comptroller to sell the virtual currency on any established exchange, or by any means the comptroller deems advisable, as soon as practicable, and claimants are entitled only to the proceeds of the sale.

 There hasn’t been any movement on the bill since it was introduced and referred to committee on June 13, but it has the support of the State Comptroller; Assemblywoman Helen Weinstein introduced the bill at the State Comptroller’s request.

Click here to read an article we wrote for Bloomberg Tax on cryptocurrencies and unclaimed property.