Wyoming Rolls Out Optional Rules for "Blockchain Banks"

Wilfred Michael 

Wilfred Michael

News reporter

12 November 2019,
Wyoming Rolls Out Optional Rules for "Blockchain Banks"

The United States’ state of Wyoming has followed up its legalization of crypto custodian businesses by publishing new rules to govern such entities in the event of airdrops, forks, and staking.

First revealed on Twitter by Caitlin Long, a member of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, the new rules will apply to crypto custodians, legally called “special purpose depository institutions” (SPDIs) and informally dubbed “blockchain banks.”

Notably, the new rules clearly defined that if crypto stored with a custodian gain from forks, airdrop, or staking, then the profit would belong to the customer, not the custodian unless specified otherwise in writing.

Also, the customer would be responsible for deciding how these profits will be reinvested, with the bank having no right to reauthorize or rehypothecate digital assets owned by a customer without prior approval.

Backdoor to BitLicense Application in New York?

Caitlin Long, in a thread of tweet regarding the new rules, suggested that crypto startups can take advantage of the regulation as an opportunity to serve New York clients without obtaining the customary BitLicense.

As she explained, SPDIs in Wyoming have the same status as a chartered bank and thus have access to serve 42 U.S states without obtaining an additional state license. The only requirement, consequently, would be opening a branch in the state, for instance, in New York to serve customers.

“Since NY law exempts national banks from the #BitLicense, #Wyoming's #SPDI almost certainly exempt too,” Caitlin wrote after alluding to the fact that state-charted banks and national banks have a parity protected by federal law.

Meanwhile, as Stmarket.co has reported in the past, the BitLicense requirement for crypto custodians in New York has come under criticism for its rigorous requirements and the fact that it is not compulsory in other U.S states.

A lawsuit seeking the abolition of the license, which was first introduced in 2015, was moved recently to the State’s highest court.


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