California shelves plan to regulate digital currency industry

After almost a year of dormancy, Assembly Bill 1326 or the California Bitcoin License bill, was reintroduced in the state Legislature early this month for a second reading by the Senate. Legislators, however, froze the bill’s progress this week by referring the proposal back to the state’s Rules Committee and Banking and Finance Committee.

California shelves plan to regulate digital currency industryA representative for the Banking and Finance Committee confirmed the news to CoinDesk, saying, “[the bill] is being delayed for this year.”

AB1326 was first introduced in the legislature by Assembly member Matt Dababneh in 2015. Since then, it had gone on through several amendments both in the assembly and in the Senate.

Members of the digital currency community in California are against the bill, which would potentially create regulations that would control the use and trade of digital currency, just like the New York BitLicense. This could mean that bitcoin start-ups in the state—particularly in start-up hotbed San Francisco—may soon find themselves exposed to more red tape.

But according to Banking and Finance Committee spokesperson Mark Farouk, the bill is undergoing “significant change,” noting that “there’s a lot of things that are going to be modified.”

Digital currency start-up investments reach $300M

A favorable digital currency-related legislation, not just in California, would greatly benefit the thriving blockchain and digital currency start-up sector.

According to Juniper Research, start-ups working with bitcoin and its underlying technology around the world have already raised close to $300 million in funding in the first half of 2016 alone.

More than 30 start-ups received $290 million in funding, but over a third of this investment went to just three companies: social payment provider Circle, which raised $60 million in June; sidechain developer Blockstream, which bagged $55 million in February; and distributed ledger solutions provider Digital Asset Holdings, which raised $50 million in January.

Current bitcoin price and trade volume

The price of bitcoin went up, albeit slightly, only Wednesday, trading at $574.60 with a market capitalization of $9.11 billion and trade volume of $20.63 million.