After months of debate, a bill that exempts traders of digital currencies like bitcoin from New Hampshire’s money transmission regulations is now a law.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed House Bill 436 into law last June 2, more than a month after state senators passed the bill.
First introduced in January, HB436 seeks to create an exemption from money transmission requirements for “persons conducting business using transactions conducted in whole or in part in virtual currency,” which it defines as a “digital representation of value that can be digitally traded and functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value but does not have legal tender status as recognized by the United States government.”
The bill enjoyed support from grassroots advocates, but also drew flak from state officials who blasted the proposal during public hearings. Despite this, HB436 cleared the House of Representatives by a 180-170 margin in March and passed the State Senate by a 13-10 vote in April.
The law will go into effect on August 1, 2017.
Other states should take notice
The newly-signed bill marked a stark difference on how New Hampshire views digital currency compared to other U.S. states. While New Hampshire pushed to, essentially, deregulate activities involving digital currencies like bitcoin, other states have been beefing up rules for people who engage in similar activities in their jurisdictions—prompting bitcoin companies to withdraw their services.
Bitfinex, for instance, stopped offering its services to residents of the state of Washington in March after the state’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) required them to obtain a state money transfer license before offering the services to Washington state residents.
Coinbase also exited the state of Hawaii due to a new policy imposed by the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions, which requires digital currency businesses to maintain cash reserves in an amount equal to the aggregate face value of digital currency funds held on behalf of customers.
Not all states, however, have a constricted view of digital currencies. Recently, Vermont updated its money transmission rules, which now include a definition for virtual currencies. Under House Bill 182, money transmitters can start holding digital currencies as a “permissible investment”, but “only to the extent of outstanding transmission obligations received by the licensee in identical denomination of virtual currency.”
Current bitcoin price
The price of bitcoin has dropped to $2,780 level during Thursday morning’s trading.