Sweeping ‘Bitcoin Rights’ Bill Becomes Law in Oklahoma

The new laws protect Oklahomans’ right to self-custody their crypto and prevent the state and local governments from banning crypto mining.

AccessTimeIconMay 15, 2024 at 7:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 15, 2024 at 7:41 p.m. UTC
  • The bill will protect Oklahomans’ right to self-custody digital assets.
  • It also makes it legal for Oklahoma residents to mine crypto, both at home and on an industrial scale.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a sweeping ‘Bitcoin Rights’ bill into law on Monday, enshrining Oklahomans’ legal right to mine, transact with, and self-custody cryptocurrencies and boosting the state’s reputation for being a friendly destination for crypto companies and investors.

The bill, HB3594, was introduced by Republican state Rep. Brian Hill and carried in the Senate by Republican state Sen. Bill Coleman. It was inspired by model policy from state-focused bitcoin mining advocacy group Satoshi Action Fund, which has helped introduce similar legislation in 15 other states.

Stitt’s signature on the bill is a bright spot for crypto advocates in an otherwise bleak regulatory landscape. In the absence of a regulatory framework for crypto from Congress, federal regulators have been left to their own devices to regulate the crypto industry, doing so largely through enforcement actions against crypto companies and developers.

The recent crackdown on crypto mixing services and other privacy tools, including criminal charges for Samourai Wallet and Tornado Cash developers, has led to growing – though currently unfounded – concern that the federal government could eventually take steps to ban self-custody.

Oklahoma’s crypto bill gets ahead of any hypothetical future ban by making the right to self-custody crypto, in either a self-hosted wallet or hardware wallet, fundamental. It also protects the ability to use crypto to purchase legal goods and services, and to do so without an extra tax “based solely on the use of the digital asset as the method of payment.”

The crypto bill also makes it legal for Oklahoma residents to mine crypto, both at home and on an industrial scale, provided they comply with local noise ordinances. Oklahoma has been a popular destination for crypto mining companies – in February, Polaris Technologies announced it was spending $100 million to build a 200 megawatt mining facility outside of Tulsa.

By protecting the right to mine in Oklahoma, the bill wards off any future attempts – such as those seen in New York and North Carolina – to ban crypto mining. It also ensures that anyone mining crypto or otherwise operating a node will not be required to obtain a money transmitter license, and ensures that anyone operating a node or staking as a service “shall not face liability related to a specific transaction merely by validating that transaction.”

The bill will go into effect on November 1, 2024.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.