Louisiana State Senate to Consider Crypto Business Licensing Bill

Louisiana State Senate to Consider Crypto Business Licensing Bill

A statue beside the Louisiana State Capitol (Credit: Jeffrey Schwartz / Wikimedia Commons)

The Louisiana State Senate is about to consider a bill to regulate and license virtual currency businesses.

Sponsored by state Rep. Mark Wright (R-77), HB701 sailed through the state House of Representatives with unanimous approval, and is being referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs.

If passed, would establish Louisiana’s first crypto licensing regime.

Crypto businesses would have to apply with the state’s Office of Financial Institutions (OFI), fork over executives’ fingerprints, subject their “experience, character and general fitness” to investigation – and perhaps the business premises as well – and pay a nonrefundable registration fee, among other requirements.

Registrants licensed by states with comparable regimes would not need a Louisiana license under the bill. Individuals dealing with less than $35,000 annually would only need to register with OFI. 

OFI projected charging a $2,000 application fee and $1,000 for annual renewal. Louisiana’s budget gurus the bill would cost the agency nearly $150,000 in its first year and about $1.3 million over five as OFI ramped up enforcement. 

Bill sponsor Rep. Wright first called upon the OFI to study virtual currency regulation in 2019, . During that session, he also introduced a .

That bill died in the House committee.

Andrew Hinkes, a lawyer with Carlton Fields, said the 2020 bill appears to derive from the Virtual Currency Business Act (VCBA), a by the non-partisan Uniform Law Commission (ULC).

ULC drafts model laws meant to bring statutory uniformity across state lines. California, Oklahoma and Hawaii are all considering versions of the VCBA, he said.

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