The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday gave bitcoin startups more time to respond to the agency’s request to register as a cryptocurrency, after its staff told the SEC that the cryptocurrency industry is in its infancy and that the regulatory process is “not yet complete.”
Bitcoin has exploded in value in the last year, and the Securities and Entertainment Commission (SEC) on Tuesday issued new guidance for the industry to allow more firms to participate.
The SEC, in a letter to bitcoin exchange Bitfinex and other bitcoin companies, said that it has not yet received a request for comment from the bitcoin industry’s largest players, but it expects to respond “as soon as possible.”
Bitfinex, the largest bitcoin exchange in the U.K., said on Tuesday that it is not registered as a regulated currency because it has no bitcoin wallet.
The SEC did not immediately respond to a request from Business Insider for comment.
A number of other bitcoin exchanges and wallet providers, including Coinbase and Kraken, have filed with the SEC as well, and some bitcoin startups have indicated they will accept cryptocurrency payments.
The agency issued its guidance on Tuesday as bitcoin exchanges continue to struggle with the regulator’s new rules.
The agency’s move came amid a series of regulatory setbacks for bitcoin businesses.
Earlier this month, the SEC said it would revoke the licenses of two bitcoin companies for allegedly misleading investors about the cryptocurrency’s market value and alleged market manipulation.
In a statement, Coinbase said that its existing bitcoin business is fully compliant with the rules, and that it plans to continue its operations as normal.
Kraken, which provides bitcoin trading services to investors, said it was reviewing the SEC’s letter, and did not comment further.
Kraken said in a statement that it would continue to operate as usual.
“We have been in compliance with the new rules for several months now and have a solid foundation for our business,” the statement said.
The new rules, which took effect on June 18, require companies to register with the agency if they plan to accept cryptocurrency as payment.
The move by the SEC comes amid the continuing legal battles over whether bitcoin businesses can operate as banks.
Bitcoin exchanges have long argued that they are not banks and are not subject to the same rules as traditional banks.
The new rules have led to some of the biggest bitcoin exchanges, including BitfineX and Coinbase, to temporarily halt operations.
“Bitcoin businesses should not be forced to create an intermediary to act as a bank to provide a service to customers,” Brian Armstrong, a spokesman for Bitfine, said in an email to Business Insider.
“This is a huge problem, and it needs to stop.”