Cryptocurrency 2017 Legislation

Heather Morton 7/5/2018
Digital or virtual currencies are a medium of exchange but are not regular money.
 
Unlike dollar bills and coins, cryptocurrencies are not issued or backed by the U.S. government or any other government or central bank. The lack of a physical token to count and hold may confuse some. Rather, Bitcoin and other crytopcurrencies are a form of digital currency used in electronic payment transactions—no coins, paper money or banks are involved; there are zero to minimal transaction fees; transactions are fast and not bound by geography; and, similar to using cash, transactions are anonymous.
 
Digital currencies are stored in digital wallets, which are software or apps installed by users on their computer or mobile device.
 
Each digital wallet contains encrypted information, called public and private keys, that is used to send and receive the digital currency. All digital currency transactions are recorded in a virtual public ledger called the “blockchain,” which is maintained by digital currency “miners.” These miners can be anyone, anywhere in the world, who is willing to invest in the specialized computer hardware needed to rapidly process complex computations. Miners are awarded digital currency, like Bitcoin, Ripple, Dogecoin, and Litecoin, in exchange for verifying each transaction and adding it to the blockchain.

 

Cryptocurrency 2017 Legislation
State: Bill Number: Bill Summary:
Alabama

H.B. 215

Signed by governor 5/26/17, Act 389

Repeals Chapter 7 (commencing with §8-7-1) of Title 8, and adds Chapter 7A (commencing with §8-7A-1), the Code of Alabama 1975; provides for regulation of money transmissions by the Alabama Securities Commission, includes virtual currency; requires any person engaging in the business of monetary transmissions to obtain a license from the commission and specify requirements for licensing and exceptions; requires a licensee to maintain records and specifies the commission would periodically examine each licensee; to specify the powers of the commission with regard to enforcement; provides an aggrieved person with an opportunity for a hearing; allows the commission to promulgate rules; provides criminal penalties for violations; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as §111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Alabama

S.B. 173

Passed Senate 3/9/17

Repeals Chapter 7 (commencing with §8-7-1) of Title 8, and adds Chapter 7A (commencing with §8-7A-1), the Code of Alabama 1975; provides for regulation of money transmissions by the Alabama Securities Commission, includes virtual currency; requires any person engaging in the business of monetary transmissions to obtain a license from the commission and specify requirements for licensing and exceptions; requires a licensee to maintain records and specifies the commission would periodically examine each licensee; to specify the powers of the commission with regard to enforcement; provides an aggrieved person with an opportunity for a hearing; allows the commission to promulgate rules; provides criminal penalties for violations; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as §111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Alaska H.B. 180

Relates to money transmission and currency exchange businesses; relates to transmitting value that substitutes for money; relates to licensing requirements and registration through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry; relates to surety bonding requirements; authorizes certain licensees to contract to use subdelegates for reloading funds on certain stored-value cards; relates to record retention, reporting requirements, and enforcement provisions; relates to exemptions; relates to money services Internet activities; relates to transmitting value and currency.

Arizona None  
Arkansas None  
California A.B. 1123

This bill enacts the Virtual Currency Act. The bill prohibits a person from engaging in any virtual currency business, as defined, in this state unless the person is licensed by the commissioner of Business Oversight or is exempt from the licensure requirement, as provided. The bill requires applicants for licensure, including an applicant for licensure and approval to acquire control of a licensee, to pay the commissioner a specified nonrefundable application fee and complete an application form required to include, among other things, information about the applicant, prior virtual currency services provided by the applicant, a sample form of receipt for transactions involving the business of virtual currency, and specified financial statements. The bill makes these licenses subject to annual renewal and requires a renewal fee paid to the commissioner in a specified amount. The bill requires licensees to annually pay the commissioner a specified amount for each licensee branch office. The bill requires applicants and licensees to pay the commissioner a specified hourly amount for the commissioner’s examination costs, as provided. The bill also requires the commissioner to levy an assessment each fiscal year, on a pro rata basis, on licensees in an amount sufficient to meet the commissioner’s expenses in administering these provisions and to provide a reasonable reserve for contingencies. This bill requires each licensee to maintain at all times such capital as the commissioner determines, subject to specified factors, is sufficient to ensure the safety and soundness of the licensee, its ongoing operations, and maintain consumer protection. The bill requires each licensee to maintain a bond or trust account in U.S. dollars for the benefit of its consumers in the form and amount as specified by the commissioner. This bill authorizes the commissioner to examine the business and any branch office of any licensee to ascertain whether the business is being conducted in a lawful manner and all virtual currency is properly accounted for. The bill requires a licensee to file a report with the commissioner within a specified period of time after the licensee knows about the occurrence of certain events relating to the virtual currency business and those persons connected to that business, and to also maintain records as required by the commissioner for a specified period of time. With regard to enforcement, among other things, this bill, if it appears that a licensee is violating or failing to comply with these provisions or conducting business in an unsafe or injurious manner, authorizes the commissioner to order the licensee to comply or discontinue those practices. The bill also authorizes the commissioner to issue an order suspending or revoking a license, or placing a licensee in receivership, if after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the commissioner makes a specified finding. The bill provides that every order, decision, or other official act of the commissioner is subject to review. This bill authorizes the commissioner to impose a civil penalty for a violation of these provisions. Within a specified period after the fiscal year, the bill requires a licensee to file with the commissioner a specified audit report. Within a specified period after the end of each calendar quarter, the bill would require a licensee to file with the commissioner a report containing financial statements verified by two of the licensee’s principal officers. This bill requires a licensee to provide a specified consumer protection disclosure and receipt to its consumers. This bill authorizes a virtual currency licensee in good standing that plans to engage in activities permitted under the Money Transmission Act to request that the commissioner convert his or her license into a license under the Money Transmission Act, as specified. The bill authorizes a person or entity conducting virtual currency business with less than $1 million in outstanding obligations and whose business model, as determined by the commissioner, represents low or no risk to consumers to register with a $500 license fee and, if approved, receive a provisional license to conduct virtual currency business. This bill requires a licensee, under the Money Transmission Act, to report to the commissioner its plan to engage in any virtual currency business and request permission to engage in that business subject to specified requirements and conditions, as determined by the commissioner. This bill makes these provisions including the Virtual Currency Act operative on July 1, 2018. Existing law, the General Corporation Law, prohibits a corporation, social purpose corporation, association, or individual from issuing or putting in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States. This bill deletes that prohibition.

Colorado None  
Connecticut

H.B. 7141

Signed by governor 7/11/17, Public Act 233

This bill makes various changes to the banking laws. Among other things, it: 1. applies certain mortgage servicers' and student loan servicers' prohibited acts to other licensees; 2. requires nondepository licensees to supervise the operation of their businesses to ensure compliance with all applicable laws; 3. allows the banking commissioner to require the use of electronic bonds as a requirement for participation in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (“system”); 4. establishes when a mortgage loan originator or loan processor or underwriter must retake the prelicensing education; and 5. sets limits for money transmitters regarding virtual currency transactions, advertising material, and timeframes for remitting money.

Delaware None  
District of Columbia None  
Florida

H.B. 1379

Signed by governor 6/23/17, Chapter 155

Relates to the Department of Legal Affairs, defines the term "virtual currency" and expands the Florida Money Laundering Act to prohibit the laundering of virtual currency.

Florida

S.B. 1626

Substituted by H.B. 1379 5/3/17

Relates to the Department of Legal Affairs, amends the term “monetary instruments” and defines the term “virtual currency.”

Georgia None  
Guam Not available  
Hawaii None  
Idaho None  
Illinois H.B. 2603

Creates the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. Adds language concerning: definitions; applicability; rulemaking; presumptively abandoned property; taking custody of property that is presumed abandoned; reporting requirements; notice to property owner; taking custody of property by the State Treasurer; sale of property; administration of property; claims to recover; liability; remedies; enforcement; agreements to locate property; confidentiality; uniformity of application and construction; relation to federal laws; transitional provisions; and severability. Repeals the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act and makes corresponding changes in the following Acts: the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act; the Freedom of Information Act; the State Comptroller Act; the State Treasurer Act; the Financial Institutions Code; the State Finance Act; the State Officers and Employees Money Disposition Act; the Counties Code; the Illinois Banking Act; the Savings Bank Act; the Illinois Credit Union Act; the Currency Exchange Act; the Corporate Fiduciary Act; the Transmitters of Money Act; the Adverse Claims to Deposit Accounts Act; the Illinois Insurance Code; the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act; the Real Estate License Act of 2000; the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963; the Probate Act of 1975; the Sale of Unclaimed Property Act; the Business Corporation Act of 1983; and the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986. Includes virtual currency in definition of unclaimed property.

Illinois

S.B. 868

Signed by governor 12/15/17, Public Act 100-566

Amends the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. Makes changes in provisions concerning: definitions; when property and stored-value cards are presumed abandoned; reporting requirements; notice to apparent owner by holder; notice by administrator; escheat fees; property removed from a safe-deposit box; crediting income or gain to owner's account; examination of state-regulated financial institutions; agreements to locate property; and other matters. Includes virtual currency.

Indiana None  
Iowa None  
Kansas None  
Kentucky None  
Louisiana None  
Maine None  
Maryland None  
Massachusetts None  
Michigan None  
Minnesota

H.F. 1608

S.F. 1035

Enacts the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act recommended for enactment by the states by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Includes virtual currency as unclaimed property.

Mississippi None  
Missouri None  
Montana None  
Nebraska L.B. 141

Adopts the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act and eliminates the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. Includes virtual currency in the act.

Nevada None  
New Hampshire

H.B. 436

Signed by governor 6/2/17, Chapter 70

This bill exempts persons using virtual currency from being licensed as money transmitters.
New Hampshire

H.B. 541

Died on table 11/30/17

This bill requires that legislators be paid compensation in silver dollar coins. The state treasurer is directed to acquire sufficient silver dollar coins for such compensation.

New Jersey A.B. 5146

This bill prohibits discrimination against consumers paying for goods or services with cash. Specifically, the bill makes it an unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act for a person to sell or offer for sale any goods or services at retail if the person requires the buyer to pay with credit or prohibits the buyer from paying with cash. The bill is applicable to any retail transaction conducted in-person, and excludes telephone, mail, or Internet-based transactions. An unlawful practice is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. Additionally, violations can result in cease and desist orders issued by the attorney general, the assessment of punitive damages, and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured party.

New Mexico None  
New York None  
North Carolina None  
North Dakota

S.B. 2100

Failed to pass House 3/1/17

Provides for a legislative management study of virtual currency.

N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio None  
Oklahoma None  
Oregon None  
Pennsylvania None  
Puerto Rico None  
Rhode Island None  
South Carolina None  
South Dakota None  
Tennessee

H.B. 420

Signed by governor 5/25/17, Public Chapter 457

S.B. 371

Substituted 5/9/17

Enacts the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. Includes virtual currency in the act.

Texas H.J.R. 89

Proposes a constitutional amendment relating to the right to own, hold, and use any mutually agreed upon medium of exchange.

Texas H.J.R. 95

Proposes a constitutional amendment relating to the right to own, hold, and use any mutually agreed upon medium of exchange.

Utah

S.B. 175

Signed by governor 3/24/17, Chapter 371

This bill modifies the Unclaimed Property Act. Includes virtual currency in the act.

Vermont

H.B. 182

Signed by governor 5/4/17, Act 22

This act pertains to certain companies that provide financial services and are regulated by the Department of Financial Regulation. Among other things, it requires three-year renewals for consumer litigation funding companies; it amends the licensing requirements for licensed lenders, money transmitters, check cashers and currency exchangers, and loan servicers; it creates a new type of license applicable to mortgage brokers who engage in “lead generation,” as well as a new license for lenders, generally, who engage in “loan solicitation.” Includes virtual currency.

Vermont S.B. 59

This bill proposes to amend and stablish laws pertaining to consumer litigation funding companies; licensed lenders; money servicers; debt adjusters; and loan servicers. Includes virtual currency.

Virginia None  
Virgin Islands Not available  
Washington

H.B. 1045

Passed House 2/9/17

S.B. 5031

Signed by governor 4/17/17, Chapter 30

Addresses licensing and enforcement provisions applicable to money transmitters and currency exchanges under the uniform money services act. Includes virtual currency.

Washington S.B. 5264

Prohibits a marijuana producer, processor, or retail outlet from paying with or accepting virtual currency for the purchase or sale of marijuana or marijuana products.

West Virginia None  
Wisconsin None  
Wyoming None  

 

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, and medical malpractice issues for NCSL.

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