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Changing Law to attract Cryptocurrency Startups

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Wyoming is about 1,000 miles from Silicon Valley and even farther from wealthy East Coast investors. The cowboy state’s Republican Governor Matt Mead signed a number of laws that are set to attract the booming crypto industry to the state.

The state also has tried to explain what cryptocurrency is, terming it as a type of digital currency that can be redeemed for goods and services. It’s laws also exempts cryptocurrencies from state property taxes as they have been classified as “utility tokens.”

According to the State Representative, Tyler Lindholm, the cryptocurrency friendly laws are beginning to bear fruits as scores of startups bearing “crypto” and “blockchain“ in their names are flocking to the state to set up shop.

Since the Wyoming legislature finished its annual 20-day session in March, two or three crypto-related companies have registered there each day, says Lindholm. The part-time lawmaker, cattle rancher, electrician, and firefighter says the influx in registration and filing fees alone would bring loads of fresh cash into the state, where mining and energy primarily drive the economy. Backers expect the payoff to be even bigger as companies set up offices in the state.

Lindholm, the sponsor of parts of the law, says he isn’t too concerned about running afoul of the SEC. He says he and other lawmakers formed a blockchain task force and invited the SEC to come to their next meeting in the state later this month. He’s helping organize an event on May 15 near his hometown of Sundance to demonstrate how blockchain technology can help track biographical information of cattle, which is typically scribbled in a rancher’s notebook.

“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 says. He adds that officials in states such as New Hampshire and North Dakota have contacted 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.”

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