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Silicon Plateau? Wyoming Makes Bid for Blockchain Innovation

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 05, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Great Seal of Wyoming features a rancher near a banner with the words "Livestock" and "Grain" on it, and a miner next to a banner that reads "Mines" and "Oil." They may also want to add "Bitcoin" to their mining operations.

The Equality State just enacted 13 laws aimed at enabling blockchain innovation, in a move to become the home of digital asset creation, storage, and development. So, is the "tax-friendliest state in the United States" about to become the Bitcoin-friendliest state?

Blockchain, Unchained

As reported by Forbes, the new blockchain laws cover a wide swath of digital asset and financial technology issues. The new rules:

  • Recognize direct property rights for individual owners of digital assets of all types (virtual currencies, digital securities, and utility tokens) and apply the super-negotiability rules of commercial law to virtual currencies by applying the very same rules that apply to money;
  • Create a "fintech sandbox" (essentially a legal space for financial technology innovators to experiment with products or services in the production environment before they go public) to provide regulatory relief to financial innovators from existing laws for up to 3 years;
  • Authorize a new type of state-chartered depository institution to provide basic banking services to blockchain and other businesses (the bank is required to have 100% reserves, cannot lend, is for business depositors only, and FDIC insurance is optional); and
  • Authorize banks to be the first true "qualified custodians" for digital assets.

Go Back East Just a Little Ways, Young Man!

So, does this mean Cheyenne will replace San Francisco as the tech capital of the country? Maybe not. As Caitlin Long points out, you don't necessarily need to move to Wyoming to take advantage of the new legislation. If you are a financial tech company specializing in digital assets, however, the Cowboy State may be an attractive place to experiment and innovate.

To see how the new laws might benefit your blockchain biz, contact an experienced commercial attorney in your area.

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