Finance

From Louisiana to New Hampshire, crypto advocates are winning

As many states settle in for their summer recess, the momentum behind digital asset legislation shows no signs of slowing down, and it could shift voters’ focus to many congressional and down-ballot races this fall. 

So far in 2024, we’ve seen over 30 bills impacting digital assets enacted at the state level. That’s more than double the number that passed out of state houses last year. We also see progress in both Republican and Democratic states, reflecting a broad, bipartisan appetite for clear and consistent crypto regulation. States are seeing the importance of showing the work ahead of November.

June has been a particularly active month for state crypto policy in New England, the home of a few important races and a variety of bills addressing key areas such as custody requirements, self-hosted wallets, unclaimed property, crypto mining, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Related: Only Donald Trump can save crypto from Joe Biden

For example, the swing state of New Hampshire — which has alternated between Democratic and Republican majorities in its state legislature since 2006 — is making moves to expand its regulatory framework to include certain digital-asset activity. The state legislature spent June negotiating differences between the House and Senate passed versions of HB 1241, which wextend its money-transmitter laws to capture “virtual currency” transmission.

Maine — a place some are saying could be a swing state in 2024 — also recently advanced a digital asset update to its own MTL regulations. However, the change included some problematic provisions for self-hosted wallets. When Maine Governor Janet Mills signed LD 2112 into law, the bill included language that could stifle how self-hosted wallets interact with the rest of the digital asset ecosystem. Policymakers will need to address this issue during the bill’s implementation process.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s home state of Massachusetts is also advancing crypto legislation. H. 1641 aims to modernize how fiduciaries manage digital assets, aligning with similar legislation across the country like HB 3778 in Oklahoma and SB 1458 in California. The measure has been recommended for further study by the Joint Judiciary Committee, made up of members from both the State House and Senate. The committee is poised to examine the bill and make recommendations on it before the end of the year. Massachusetts is also making strides at the local level. Just south of Boston, the city of Quincy recently issued the first municipal blockchain-based bond for $10 million with J.P. Morgan. Supporters have been championing the lower costs, enhanced liquidity, and reduced settlement times the measure promises for debt markets. Given how vocal Senator Warren is on the federal level, we are taking stock of what happens in the state.

In June, another New England state, Rhode Island, saw Governor Dan McKee sign SB 2803 into law. The bill incorporates minimum capital requirements and limits on investments for “currency transmitters” operating in the state, including crypto exchanges.

Related: Did Bitcoin Runes already peak?

Another June development worth flagging was Louisiana’s HB 488 signed by Governor Jeff Landry, which encouraged Bitcoin mining and prohibited CBDCs. This bill received bipartisan support for championing states’ rights in crypto policy. 

A final win for crypto advocates came on June 27, when HB 690 passed the North Carolina state Senate. CBDC payments would be prohibited under the legislation, as would North Carolina’s participation in the Federal Reserve’s CBDC tests. The bill is going to the governor for consideration.

States are increasingly shaping the regulatory environment for digital assets, providing clarity and security for digital asset businesses and consumers. The steady growth in legislative activity at the state level is a clear signal that policymakers are hearing from their constituents on these issues, which will have important implications for the upcoming November election. More than 50 million Americans own crypto. In swing states with tight races, these crypto swing voters are poised to make a major impact.

These voters recognize the United States is at a turning point when it comes to leadership on Web3, and they don’t want to see us cede this frontier to our global competitors. Candidates that support clear rules of the road and want to work on advancing this new technology in the United States could win tight races across the country. June’s activity at the state level is proof that policy leaders can come from anywhere in the country and either side of the aisle.

Peter Herzog is the state and local government affairs lead at the Crypto Council for Innovation.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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