Atlas ATS and The National Stock Exchange ("NSX") today announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to have NSX develop and enforce rules to regulate Atlas ATS, thereby making Atlas the first fully regulated U.S. - based digital currency exchange.
Atlas's exchange has been operating for several months, trading digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin, as well as options on digital currencies (also known as crypto- currencies or alternate currencies). The Atlas regulatory rule set by which they will operate the exchange will be based upon rules already in use by U.S. stock and options exchanges.
"We are very excited about working with Atlas ATS and all other market participants in the digital currency space to create a framework for safe, transparent and auditable rules applied to a unique market place. In this regard, the NSX intends to target its regulatory capabilities to identify currently non-regulated financial exchanges -- digital currencies and their derivatives are prime examples of such markets. The NSX has spent a significant amount of time and money over the last few years developing regulatory infrastructure and expertise that has been built to enable us to regulate and provide surveillance in multiple asset classes," said David Harris, Chairman and CEO of the NSX.
"Bitcoin and other digital currencies are quickly gaining acceptance worldwide, but there is a tremendous need for a secure, trusted entity to exist before investors are comfortable trading this new asset. Investors, both retail and institutional, need an exchange with top-notch security, fast trading technology, and trusted oversight. That exchange is Atlas ATS," said Shawn Sloves, Atlas's Co-Founder and CEO.
"Regulators are just now catching up to digital currencies," said Nick Niehoff, Chairman, United States OTC Markets and former President of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange. "At the present time, digital currency trading is largely unregulated, which presents a challenge to exchanges that are looking to bolster investor confidence. If exchanges are simply Money Service Businesses, then they wind up requiring Money Transfer Licenses, which are regulated by the individual states, each of which has its its own requirements. I believe the best solution is the one Atlas and NSX have found -- having NSX, an SRO (Self-Regulatory Organization), use its experience, infrastructure and technology to establish a set of best practices and audit Atlas to ensure that they are following those practices. It's a higher level of scrutiny than the state-overseen Money Transfer Licenses and more tailored to digital currencies."