2018 seems to be a good year for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. 2017 was full of controversial anti-crypto statements by governments and banks appearing to push with all their might against crypto use. This triggered a sharp bearish trend in markets by early 2018, however, the new year continued with a refreshing turnaround by governments and regulators regarding blockchain and trading.
In the United States, two states have taken the initiative to fully study the nature of bitcoin and work on legal market regulation mechanisms without affecting the interests of their participants.
Arizona was in the news last week with its announcement to allow taxpayers to “pay their income tax liability using a payment gateway, such as bitcoin, litecoin or any other cryptocurrency recognized by the department, using electronic peer-to-peer systems”. In the last few days, it has been Wyoming who has retained the title of the ‘state that takes cryptocurrencies and blockchain tokens most seriously’
A Tax-Bill entitled: “Wyoming Money Transmitter Act-virtual currency exemption” was passed on March 5, 2018. This Bill is seeking to amend the Wyoming Money Transmitter Act in order to “provide an exemption for virtual currency”.
The act is supposed to be “effective immediately upon completion of all acts necessary for a bill to become law as provided by Article 4, Section 8 of the Wyoming Constitution” which is a clear sign of the Wyoming state legislative body’s willingness to fill the legal gaps in the field of cryptocurrencies as quickly as possible.
The Bill No HB0019 introduces an exception on the law which textually states:
“40-22-104. Exemptions. (a) This act [Wyoming Money Transmitter Act] shall not apply to:
(vi) Buying, selling, issuing, or taking custody of payment instruments or stored value in the form of virtual currency or receiving virtual currency for transmission to a location within or outside the United States by any means.”
According to the act, a virtual currency is any means of payment which is used as a means of payment upon two parties without being legally recognized as legal tender by the U. S. government. This definition covers a fairly broad spectrum of trading, protecting bitcoin, altcoins, tokens, smart-contracts and similar.
In a similar way, shortly afterward, the state issued the H.B No. 0070 act entitled “Open blockchain tokens-exemptions“. This differs from the previous one in the sense that it is not only trading that is being protected but also the creation, development and market placement of tokens and cryptos in general. A brief description reads as follows:
“AN ACT relating to securities; providing that a person who develops, sells or facilitates the exchange of an open blockchain token is not subject to specified securities and money transmission laws; providing specified verification authority to the secretary of state and banking commissioner; making conforming amendments, and providing for an effective date.”
In its body, one of the most important points is protection focused on developers rather than traders. However, in order to qualify for an exception, certain conditions have to be met:
“A developer, seller or a person who facilitates the exchange of an open blockchain token, or the registered agent of the applicable person, shall electronically file a notice of intent with the secretary of state before the person shall qualify for an exemption under this section”
One important thing to note is the results of the discussion of this document: 60 Ayes, 0 Nays, 0 Excused, 0 Absent and 0 Conflicts. This is a clear demonstration of the general will and almost exclusive consensus among legislators in terms of a vision of what crypto-trading is. These findings suggest that a change of direction or some kind of political conflict is highly unlikely to reverse this situation. The overwhelming majority of Wyoming politicians seem determined to make the state as crypto-friendly as possible.
Taking Wyoming as an example, it’s clear to see how susceptible to changes the cryptocurrency market is; by generating confidence in traders, bullish trends are promoted at least in the short term. It is also important to recognize that the citizens of Wyoming can now have more peace of mind and security that their investments will be officially protected, especially when the Federal Government’s opinion has been to not issue a specific position until it is done “studying and understanding what the good ideas and bad ideas are“ that sustain cryptocurrencies and blockchain in general.
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If you like blockchain, it’s a good time to live in Wyoming!
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