The State of Wyoming has become the first U.S. state to recognize cryptocurrency as legal property, legitimizing the industry and supporting its aim to become the U.S.’s leading cryptocurrency state.
This legislation affords residents of Wyoming the power to own digital currency tokens with full legal protection and without going through typical third-party storage.
Wyoming State Passes Digital Property Bill
The new bill, SF0125, passed both second and third Senate readings last week on February 13 and 14 respectively. Together with multiple similar bills passed in 2018 and early 2019, SF0125 aims to create a legislative environment that is more conducive to blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation.
This new law will consider digital assets, such as Bitcoin, private property and allow for frameworks to be established in banks that are open to a future that includes cryptocurrency. The bill will effectively give cryptocurrencies the same legal standing as money, taking away the debtor-creditor relationship that currently stands and allowing for cryptocurrencies to be traded in the “peer-to-peer” nature that blockchain was designed for.
The bipartisan bill is relatively uncontroversial compared to previous blockchain and cryptocurrency bills, receiving the support of Wyoming’s House and Senate Members.
Pending final approval from Governor Mark Gordon, the bill may become law as early as the coming week. However, Gordon’s sanctioning of the bill is almost guaranteed given the support he showed for Wyoming Blockchain startups, BeefChain and SheepChain in his inauguration speech. After noting the innovation applied by such startups he stated “we can do more,” indicating his support for Wyoming’s progressive stance on the digital industry.
This new bill will see Wyoming further cement its position as a pro-cryptocurrency state after passing a blockchain bill at the end of the last year that allows financial institutions to offer blockchain related services, despite being heavily opposed by the banking sector.
A Shift from New York
According to U.S. legal procedure, individual states have jurisdiction over all property rights within their borders resulting in legislation that differs from one state to the other. This new legislation is likely to encourage the transfer of cryptocurrency and Blockchain firms to Wyoming and away from states with less favorable legislation.
Respected member of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition and Former Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long predicts that this verdict will likely result in a chain reaction of attention from both businesses and consumers. She went on to state in her Twitter feed that Blockchain firms will want to apply this new WY law to their contracts and relocate to Wyoming in order to benefit from its cryptocurrency friendly legislation.
Long appears confident that the observed trend of cryptocurrency capital shifting from New York to Wyoming will continue to increase following this new bill. According to Long, Wyoming already protects investors and property rights more effectively than New York. That together with the increasing securities being issued on Blockchains will further encourage the migration.
It became evident in January that the shift had begun even before the legislature was amended as IOHK’s Cardano announced its move to Wyoming from Hong Kong.