Lawmakers in Alaska are seeking regulatory changes that would require certain digital currency services that work in to state to obtain money transmission licenses.
House Bill 180, introduced yesterday by state representative Kito Fansler, will potentially bring companies that exchange, store or transmit digital currencies like bitcoin on behalf of a customer under the state’s money transmission laws. If approved, relevant companies would need to apply for licensure with the state’s Banking and Securities Commission.
The proposed legislation includes an expanded definition of "virtual currency", including both decentralized and centralized varieties, and covering "open-source, math-based, peer-to-peer- virtual currency" in particular.
Notably, the bill is a follow-up to a previous effort to change state law to account for digital currencies. HB271, which contained much of the same language, failed in committee, months after being introduced in late January 2016.
The latest bill highlights the twin directions that lawmakers in different states have taken on the question of regulating digital currencies.
One the one side, led by states such as New York, licensure frameworks have emerged that include the technology under existing or updated statutes. In places like New Hampshire, by comparison, state officials have sought to create exemptions for digital currency traders.
Alaska State Capitol image via Shutterstock