Wyoming announced last month it may be the first state to make ‘blockchain banks’ a thing. If this sounds strange to you –– it’s because legally and conceptually it is. To date, hundreds of cryptocurrencies have roamed the blockchain network unchecked and unregulated.
When blockchain technology first emerged, many thought cryptocurrencies would change everything –– from how we make purchases to how we invest. But institutional investors need more than a cryptocurrency ledger to satisfy regulators that they can protect customers’ assets.
Now Wyoming is looking to change all that with the introduction of Bill H.R. 2144 (116) to the Wyoming State Legislature. Announced November 11th, the Bill outlines a path to legalization of SPDIs –– legally known as “special purpose depository institutions” –– which would serve business unable to secure FDIC-insured banking services due to their dealings with cryptocurrency.
Since February, a number of important bills were passed in Wyoming aimed at building the infrastructure for what will soon become the most crypto-friendly state in the US. In January, Wyoming’s Senate passed a bill allowing for cryptocurrencies to be recognized as money, and the same month passed another bill defining certain open blockchain tokens as intangible personal property. It’s even rumored that five new “blockchain banks” could bring as much as $20 billion in assets into Wyoming by 2020.
The rapid innovation of blockchain technology and the growing use of virtual currency and digital assets has resulted in many blockchain innovators being unable to access secure banking services. These kinds of bureaucratic legislative hiccups continue to stall the development of blockchain services and products in marketplaces the world over.
Now that’s all about to change, with Wyoming of all states leading the way to a more secure crypto future. With the newfound legal foundations for crypto-based products in place, young companies will now be left to face their next big challenge: protecting their customers’ digital assets from digital threats.
As long as innovators continue to use blockchain, legislators will need to keep pace with the rapid advancement of such technologies –– or lose out on the opportunity to provide the much-needed legal infrastructure for what is still known as the ‘wild west’ era of blockchain technology.