Wyoming Aspires to Become US Cryptocurrency Capital
An unlikely destination of technological innovation, the US state passed legislation aimed to lure blockchain projects.
Wyoming is hardly a top destination for technological investments in the US. With a population of less than 0.5% of the US total and an economy revolving almost entirely around energy and agriculture, the western state does not exactly fit the technology-driven image of the nation. But a law passed by Republican governor, Matt Mead, in March is about to change the way entrepreneurs see the region, specifically blockchain and crypto entrepreneurs.
Following a 20-day annual meeting of lawmakers and Wyoming officials, a legislation was passed that defined "utility tokens", tokens exchanged for services and goods, as an asset class and freed cryptocurrencies from state property taxes, whereas the IRS taxes them a physical property. The move gave the green light to blockchain and crypto firms to register in Wyoming. About two or three ventures are being registered in the state every single day, prompting for the creation of some kind of "Cryptocurrency Valey" about 1000 miles east of the Silicon Valley in California. According to some officials, the boom in registrations a fresh revenues source for the state. Some expect the payoff to be even bigger as larger companies set up offices or move headquarters to the state.
James Row, a registered broker for more than two decades, said he filed paperwork for a new blockchain finance company in the state immediately after the law changed. He added that he is considering moving some of his other businesses in Wyoming due to these changes. “It’s cheaper and easier from a corporate filing perspective,” Row told US FOX Business in an interview, “Wyoming is proving that it’s being pro-business and anti-bureaucracy.”
The legislation team that passed the crypto-friendly law. (Source: Twitter)
The only potential danger for this legislation is if the state gets in contradiction with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But according to State Representative Tyler Lindholm, a Republican who lobbied for most parts of the blockchain legislation, the chances of such scenario are low. “I don’t think Wyoming is going to get in a fight with the SEC.” He added that he and other lawmakers formed a blockchain committee and invited the SEC to come to their next meeting in the state to demonstrate how blockchain technology can help track biographical information of cattle for example. “My legislation does tend to not align with federal bureaucracies very well, and it wouldn’t be the first time I got a letter from an agency at the federal level,” Lindholm stated adding that officials from the states of New Hampshire and North Dakota have reached out to him to express interest in passing similar laws. “If it comes down to a federal fight,” he says, “I think it’s great for Wyoming to have partners.”
According to a former financial adviser at the Commodity Futures Trading Commissio (CFTC), Jeff Bandman, Wyoming is not going to get in trouble with the SEC because all the state has done is to identify the areas that are within the scope of state securities and fall under the financial-services law. Although the SEC still ponders the classification of cryptocurrencies, one thing is for sure, Wyoming will try to get its hands on as much of the blockchain venture capital as possible for as long as it can.