State University of New York and Department of Financial Services Sign Landmark MOU to Launch a Virtual Currency Program

June 24, 2020

MOU Promotes Joint Collaboration to Launch a Virtual Currency Program at SUNY

Agreement Includes Opportunity for Start-Ups & Emerging Companies to Apply for a DFS Conditional Virtual Currency License

MOU Encourages Deepening Knowledge of Virtual Currency Research & Fostering Next-Gen Talent for Virtual Currency Ecosystem in New York

Albany – Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell today announced that the State University of New York (SUNY) and New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expressing their joint intent to launch a new SUNY-related virtual currency program, “SUNY BLOCK.”

“SUNY’s partnership with DFS further builds on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to boost New York’s economy by creating new opportunities within our high-tech industries,” said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. “Innovation is essential, and a key component is collaborating with SUNY’s campuses to develop the next-generation of developers, researchers, and leaders.”

With the signed MOU, start-ups and emerging companies participating in the SUNY BLOCK program will be able to apply for a conditional license from DFS in connection with the Department’s recently announced proposed conditional licensing framework. This will help foster and diversify research opportunities and innovation emerging from SUNY faculty, staff, students, alumni and the start-ups they create, to help early-stage startups take the leap from idea to market.

“This MOU with SUNY is a strategic step to diversify and deepen the next wave of innovators in the virtual currency space in New York,” said Superintendent Lacewell. “The DFS actions announced today in consultation with numerous industry participants and the public will boost responsible innovation and help get New York’s economy back on its feet. DFS is proud to foster accessibility and will continue to blaze a trail in the virtual currency marketplace.”

SUNY and DFS will also cooperate with respect to FinTech innovation in any other manner, as appropriate, and to share information with respect to any relevant issue involving or related to FinTech.

This signed agreement will help expand the state’s virtual currency ecosystem to new geographies and demographics, and support Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s efforts to foster an innovative New York economy and help New York build back better and stronger from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read a copy of the signed DFS and SUNY MOU on the DFS website.

Read about DFS’ proposed conditional framework on the DFS website.


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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