Wyoming Leads the Way on Cryptocurrency Legislation: Crypto is Money

February 5, 2019 / by Steven Lubka

In the United States, Wyoming recently passed a bill that legally recognizes cryptocurrencies as money as of Jan. 31, 2019. The bill was presented and proposed on Jan. 19 and was quickly approved by the most crypto-friendly state in the United States: Wyoming.

The bill categorizes cryptocurrencies and crypto assets as existing in one of three categories.

  • Digital Consumer Assets
  • Digital Securities
  • Virtual Currencies

Any assets that exist in one of those three categories will be defined as intangible personal property, affording these assets similar treatment to fiat currencies.

The groundwork was also laid for Wyoming banks to begin offering digital custody services in for these assets. Banks in Wyoming can provide digital asset custody upon submitting written notice to the state commissioner 60 days in advance.

The bill goes into effect as soon as March 1, demonstrating how Wyoming has pushed ahead to provide the most comprehensive framework in the country for digital assets and cryptocurrencies.  

Wyoming’s previously passed the following bills:

  • HB 19: A bill that exempts cryptocurrencies from the Wyoming Money Transmitter Act. This eliminated an unfair increase in the cost of exchanging cryptocurrencies within the state.
  • HB 70: A bill that defines “Utility Token.” The bill says utilities tokens are exempt from securities designations as long as issuers do not market them as investments; they are currently redeemable for a product or service (this would imply that the tokens are issued in connection with an operational product or service); and issuers do not actively support the development of a secondary market for such tokens.
  • SF 111: The bill exempts cryptocurrencies from taxation as “property,” which removes another roadblock cryptocurrencies faced in Wyoming.
  • HB 101: The bill authorizes the implementation of blockchain technology for (i) the purpose of storing records, (ii) the use of a network address to identify a corporation’s shareholders, and (iii) the acceptance of shareholder votes signed by network signatures.

Cryptocurrencies have different categorizations all over the world. In Japan and Germany, cryptocurrencies enjoy full status as money while Mexico and Denmark see them as unregulated assets that are not money.

Wyoming’s efforts signal to the rest of the nation what progressive policy on cryptocurrencies looks like and hopefully set a foundation for other states — and eventually the federal government — to follow.