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State-by-State Regulations and Attitudes Towards Bitcoin

The United States can be regarded as middle-of-the-road when it comes acceptance of crypto, both in terms of mass adoption/cultural importance and in terms of regulations. There are countries like Estonia, Japan, Singapore that have much more integration of crypto in their financial systems. Then there are those at least outwardly hostile towards crypto, such as China, Colombia, and Russia. 

American regulations and attitudes have been opening up to crypto as evidenced by the approval of Bitcoin futures contracts. However, the SEC has denied all the ETF requests that have come through in 2018.

Furthermore, the North American Securities Administration Association (NASAA) initiated "Operation Cryptosweep" in May to crack down on 70 potentially fraudulent ICOs. It has expanded to 200 such cases in August. 

State regulators expand 'Operation Cryptosweep' to 200 initial coin offerings (CNBC)

It appears that the U.S. is trying to clean up the crypto space as well as learn more about it before moving towards acceptance of financial products like Bitcoin/Crypto ETFs.

Below is a list of all 50 states from Alabama to Wyoming, and their regulations and attitudes towards bitcoin, blockchain and the crypto space in general.

First, take a look at this website that shows the location of Crypto ATMs/Tellers there are in the United States:

Note: There are gubernatorial races in the majority of states in 2018. We will notice that a lot of legislation have been put on the back burner this year. Perhaps, after the campaigns, we will see more legislative action in 2019.

 Alabama (AL)

Alabama is following federal level regulation as well as being a strong proponent of the NASAA's effort to clean up the crypto space. The Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) is a member of the NASAA. 

The ASC said, it has 21 active ICOs ongoing inquiries or investigations and issued 7 Cease and Desist orders involving cryptocurrencies as part of the initiative.

Since its launch in May, this ongoing coordinated initiative has resulted in 47 enforcement actions involving ICOs or cryptocurrency-related investment products throughout North America by state and provincial securities regulators. (Alabama News Network)

Other than being an activce participant in Operation Cryptosweep, Alabama has also passed the Alabama Monetary Transmission Act in May 2017, which requires crypto businesses like exchanges to apply for licenses.  

The Alabama Monetary Transmission Act, approved by Governor Kay Ivey in May 2017, defines “monetary value” as “[a] medium of exchange, including virtual or fiat currencies, whether or not redeemable in money.” H.B. 215, 2017 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Ala. 2017) § 8-7A-2(8). The act requires that every person engaging in the business of monetary transmissions obtain a license from the state. Money transmission includes receiving monetary value (including virtual currency) for transmission. H.B. 215,

2017 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Ala. 2017) § 8-7A-2(10). The act exempts banks, bank holding companies, securities-clearing firms, payment and settlement processors, broker-dealers, and government entities. (Carlton Fields)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 47

Alabama is a significant part of NASAA's effort to clean up the crypto space, so we should expect this state to be tough on businesses that deal with crypto.


Alaska (AK)

In late 2017, Overstock.com, which accepted bitcoin as payment, reported that Alaska conducted the most cryptocurrency purchases.

Overstock finds cryptocurrency is most popular in Alaska, with Delaware close behind (CNBC -Nov, 2017)

Alaska is neither friendly nor hostile to crypto. It has been working to pass legislation (AK HB180) that would allow the state to regulate and license bitcoin businesses (Bitcoin.com - May, 2017).

But Alaska's regulation on bitcoin has been in limbo so far in 2018. According to public record, bill AK HB180 has not been approved yet, and has been stalling since January 2018.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 14


Arizona (AZ)

It looks like Arizona is more welcoming to crypto than most, unless it messes with its nonrestrictive gun laws. There is a ban on firearm registry on the blockchain - can’t have that in Arizona!

The state DOES recognize the legality of smart contracts and sides with your right to run nodes.

According to the Bitcoin Market Journal,

"HB 2216 (2017) made it illegal to create a blockchain-empowered firearms registry or to compel any Arizona resident to use one, while HB 2417 recognizing the legality of “smart contracts.” Other bills being considered would introduce income and capital gain taxes to altcoin revenue, set up the legal framework for ICOs offered in the state, and make it illegal for a city or town to ban the establishment of a blockchain node in a residence." (Bitcoin Market Journal)

A bill to make crypto an acceptable payment for state tax however did not make it. Bill SB1091 was passed by the house and the senate but was vetoed by Governor Doug Dusey (Rep) in May. Still, we can see that Arizona has been actively trying to adopt crypto and will probably see more legislation like this proposed again in 2019.

az_crypto_vetoed.png

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 13 


Arkansas (AR) 

Arkansas is truly the wild wild west for crypto because it is not regulated at the moment. There is relatively low interest in bitcoin as well.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 46


California (CA)

California is home of some innovative technology companies, which translated to a strong interest in bitcoin. However, legislation has been relatively restrictive.

SB 843 (2016) made raffles for bitcoin or other altcoins illegal. AB 2658 (2018, pending) would recognize the legality of “smart contracts,” as well as private ownership to personal information stored on a blockchain. AB 1326 (2016, defeated) and AB 1123 (2018, defeated) would have required altcoin businesses to secure a license to operate from the Commissioner of Business Oversight. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

The interesting bill here is the crypto license bill - AB 1123, which was passed in 2017, but then died in 2018. However, in July, California did approve a license to operate a crypto-backed lending platform in the state for Blockfi. (Bitcoin.com - April, 2018)

Meanwhile, the city of Berkeley has been working on its Initial Community Offering (ICO), a play on the term initial coin offering (ICO). It is essentially leveraging blockchain technology to finance public projects. (CoinTelegraph - May, 2018)

Interest in bitcoin is very high in California as evidenced by the number of ATMs/Tellers (441), which is the most in any states.  Los Angeles is the city with the most ATMS/Tellers in the US with 253 (Coin ATM Radar).

I believe California will remain one of the leaders in pushing mass adoption of crypto. But the law seems to be lagging grassroots interest and activity.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 3


Colorado (CO) 

Known for its liberal politics i.e. legalization of marijuana, Colorado is also friendly to crypto. After all, it is one of the most Libertarian state as well. There is regulation, but that could be a good thing for institutional capital because of the clarity. The state government is however interested in leveraging blockchain technology for things like record keeping.

It has introduced legislation to regulate businesses that move bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and is taking the lead in defining what a cryptocurrency is:

In February 2018, the Colorado House introduced a bill that subjects people who buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrency to regulation under the “Money Transmitters Act.” H.B. 1220, 71st Gen. Ass., 2nd Reg. Sess. (Co. 2018). The proposed law defines “cryptocurrency” as “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used, independently of a central authority to do one or more of the following: (a) regulate the generation or issuance of currency, (b) verify the transfer of funds, (c) record transactions, or (d) prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions.” H.B. 1220, 71st Gen. Ass., 2nd Reg. Sess. (Co. 2018). (Carlton Fields)

With regulations come oversight, and Colorado has launched investigations to various ICOs.

Three Crypto Firms Ordered to Show Cause by Colorado State Securities Commissioner (CoinTelegraph - Aug, 2018)

IN May 2018, the governor also signed off on bill (SB086), Cyber Coding Cryptology for State Records. Essentially, this bill lays the groundwork for integrating and leveraging cryptography and blockchain technology by the government. For example, a provision in section 1 states:

(H) THE ABILITY TO ADOPT DISTRIBUTED LEDGER-ENABLED
PLATFORMS FOR COMPUTER-CONTROLLED PROGRAMS, DATA TRANSFER AND STORAGE, OR REGULATION PROGRAMS THAT WOULD BE NEEDED OR USED BY THE STATE. THESE WOULD ALSO ENABLE TRANSACTION-BASED REVENUE GENERATION AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR STATE PROGRAMS (LegiScan)

We can expect Colorado to be a leader in the adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 11


Connecticut (CT) 

Connecticut is one of the most anti-crypto states in the US. It has been paying attention to crypto and trying to get on top of it like Colorado is doing, but with a more hostile approach. 

Basically, you CAN do business here related to crypto, but your hands are tied and weighed down by the restrictions and service fee. Even the individual trader would have a hard time trading legally in Connecticut (CT). 

House Bill 7141, passed in October 2017, states that if you are doing virtual currency transmissions, you need a license. And then, in 2018, House Bill 5001 was introduced “to impose a fee on transactions involving virtual currency.” This bill has not passed by the time fo this research.

While legislation has been against cryptocurrency trading, some headlines suggest Connecticut does want to explore the use of blockchain technology.

Governor of Connecticut Signs Blockchain Working Group Bill Into Law (CoinTelegraph - June 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 12


Delaware (DE)

Delaware is relatively friendly to crypto and has been leading legislative efforts to open up the market to crypto and blockchain technology.

In 2016, "Governor Jack Markell today announced a groundbreaking initiative by the State of Delaware to embrace the emerging blockchain and smart contract technology industry, which can help the public and enterprises lower their transnational costs, speed up and automate manual processes, and reduce fraud." (PR Newswire - May 2016)

This initiative has since slowed after Jack Markell was replaced by John Carney in 2017 .  "Yet hopes of Delaware's blockchain supporters appear to have been overblown as the current administration under Gov. John Carney has shown far more caution than its predecessor. " (Delaware Online - Feb, 2018)

In July 2017, "The state of Delaware has passed amendments to state law that make explicit the right to trade stocks on a blockchain" (coindesk) This report refers to bill SB69, which was passed with ease. 

Delaware is known for its flexible business laws and favorable tax treatment. The state has a reputation as the jurisdiction of choice for businesses to organize/incorporate in. It seems to be following suit by opening to the crypto space as well.

In July 2018, Delaware Business Times reported on Delaware's first home to be sold in Bitcoin. "A Newark home worth $1.75 million was recently sold by Michael Kelczewski, a real estate broker for property giant, Sotheby’s International Realty." (Bitcoinist - July 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 28


Florida (FL)

The Sunshine State shines bright on crypto. It made headlines in May 2018, when Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg announced that "Residents of Seminole County, Florida will soon be able to pay their taxes and drivers license fees using bitcoin and bitcoin cash — two of the hottest cryptocurrencies in the world." (Business Insider - May, 2018) The county will be using the BitPay platform. 

Florida has 187 Bitcoin ATMS/tellers, more than most states according to coinatmradar.com.

As far as legislation:

HB 1379 (2017) defined the term “virtual currency” and prohibits its laundering. HB 1357 (2018) would permit the implementation of protocols for electronic credentialing. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

It should be noted that while the governor has signed off on HB1379 , HB1357 has died and was withdrawn from consideration in March 2018 - after the crypto market bubble popped. We had HB1356 from 2016, which also died (this was a bill to legalize smart contracts). 

Instead, the Sunshine state created its own crypto czar in June with the initial focus on overseeing the ICO market, which has seen rampant fraud and exploitative practices.

Florida Is Creating Its Own Crypto Czar (coindesk)

It looks like the business community is enamored with crypto, but the government is being cautious. This did not deter county level government (Seminole County) to leverage the utility of cryptocurrency, or at least experiment with processes involving this innovation. If these grassroots attempts to adopt crypto turn out positive, we can expect more favorable legislation from the state level. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 10


Georgia (GA)

Georgia wants to regulate crypto, but also wants to accept it for taxes and license fees.

HB 811 (2016) gave state regulators the power to create rules for the regulating of altcoin businesses. SB 464 (2018) required the state’s tax collector to accept altcoins for the payment of taxes and license fees. These altcoin payments would be immediately converted to fiat currency. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

SB464 has not passed yet at the time of this research.

Georgia doesn’t seem to be very concerned with crypto at the moment.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 30


Hawaii (HI)

Hawaii ranks 1st on google trends for “bitcoin”. However, it has some of the most restrictive regulations until 2018. 

In 2014, the Commissioner of Financial Institutions dictated that no company is licensed to transmit or handle altcoins in Hawaii and that “if companies are offering to transmit bitcoins, they are doing so in violation of Hawaii’s money transmitter laws.” HB 1481 (2018) would create a working group to study the state’s best practice to blockchain technology. SB 2853 and SB 3082 (2018) would break the existing ban on altcoins by defining altcoins as being under the auspice of the Money Transmitters Act and by establishing rules for altcoin money transmitters. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

Note that all these bills have not been passed and there have not been hearings on them since early 2018. So the the ban on crypto transactions is still in effect.

Coinbase, which suspended operation in Hawaii in 2017, has not returned to the state. The Coinbase announcement pointed out that, "The Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) has communicated regulatory policies which we believe will render continued Coinbase operations there impractical" (Coinbase)

I would assume traders ARE trading crypto in Hawaii, just not on licensed exchanges, but rather on OTC/dark markets. I also believe that the state will shift from banning to requiring a license.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 1


Idaho (ID) 

The Gem State is not taking any lead in crypto regulation. It is still in the process of defining virtual assets like bitcoin. It has basically said that you can buy/sell your own bitcoin, but can not be the broker of such transactions (Idaho Department of Finance)

The state’s Department of Finance issued several "Money Transmitter No-Action and Opinion Letters" addressing problems related to virtual currency and the state’s money transmission laws. The latest letter was posted July 26, 2016. In it, the Department wrote "[a]n exchanger that sells its own inventory of virtual currency is generally not considered a virtual currency transmitter under the Idaho Money Transmitters Act." However, "an exchanger that holds customer funds while arranging a satisfactory buy/sell order with a third party, and transmits virtual currency…between buyer and seller, will typically be considered a virtual currency transmitter." (Carlton Fields)

There is really not much going on in terms of regulation here. But as a very libertarian state, Idaho will likely lean towards favorable legislation going forward.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 24


Illinois (IL)

The Prairie State has a progressive attitude towards crypto. It has introduced legislation to allow for taxes to be paid in bitcoin and altcoins. 

HB 5335 (2018) would allow for any state tax to be payable in altcoins. HR 120 (2017) would create a task force to study the benefit of a transition to blockchain-based recordkeeping. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

Both the task force and the tax bill are still in limbo, but there is some guidance since July 2017.  (Digital Currency Regulatory Guidance). This guidance provides the state's definition of digital currency as money, and also delineates between cryptocurrency and the protocol as well as a token:

(A) digital representation of value that: (1) is used as a medium of exchange, unit of account, or store of value; and (2) is not legal tender, whether denominated in legal tender; and

(B) does not include: (1) software or a protocol governing transfer of the digital representation of value; (2) a transaction in which a merchant grants value as part of an affinity or rewards program, which value cannot be taken from or exchanged with the merchant for cash or bank credit; or (3) a digital representation of value used exclusively within an online game or game platform. (Digital Currency Regulatory Guidance)

Illinois's nonrestrictive regulation on crypto matches its the strong interest in bitcoin. As an article from January 2018 headlined, "Illinois Wants No Part of New York's Bitlicense Overregulation" (Bitcoin.com - Jan, 2018)

Finally, we had news that William Shatner is helping to build a bitcoin mining farm in southern Illinois, which would be powered by Solar Alliance, a solar-power developer of alternative energy projects. (Chicago Tribune - June, 2018) 

I also think it is worth mentioning that there are 159 crypto ATMs/tellers in Chicago (Coin ATM Radar)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 9


Indiana (IN) and Iowa (IA)

The Hoosier State and the Hawkeye State are not regulating crypto. Residents are also not very interested in this phenomenon. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 39 (Indiana)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 36 (Iowa)


Kansas (KS)

The Sunflower State is like Indiana and Iowa in that it is not regulating crypto. It has taken a step further to clarify that there is no need for state-license and any regulation beyond the federal level. The Office of State Bank Commissioner has also provided guidance saying that direct virtual currency transmission is NOT a money transmission.

"Transfer of cryptocurrency by itself is not money transmission. Because cryptocurrency is not money or monetary value, the receipt of it with the intent to transmit it to another entity is not money transmission. This includes intermediaries who receive cryptocurrency for transfer to a third party, and entities that, akin to depositories, hold cryptocurrencies on behalfof customers. " (Office of the Bank Commissioner - Kansas - June 2014)

The state government's laissez-fare attitude has allowed for many entrepreneurs to work with digital currencies. According to a Kansas City Start article from Nov. 2014, bitcoin for business transactions as well as mining have taken root in this key city in Kansas. 

Bitcoin gets a toehold in Kansas City as dedicated advocates push the virtual currency (The Kansas City Star - Nov, 2014)

Interestingly enough, residents in the state overall have a low interest in bitcoin. It should be noted that low interest in bitcoin means it has not been disruptive, and thus has not prompted the state government to formulate regulations. The "friendly" designation could therefore temporary. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 35


Kentucky (KY)

The Bluegrass State is not very concerned about crypto. There is no regulation, except it did provide its opinion in a bill introduced in February 2018 that says virtual currency is NOT legal tender: 

According to the bill, "virtual currency" means "a digital representation of value used as a medium of exchange, unit of account or store of value that does not have legal tender status recognized by the United States." (Carlton Fields)

While Kentucky is mostly quiet about bitcoin, being 48th in google trends ranking for "bitcoin", it is the home of a very important crypto company - Kingdom Trust, which is a popular custodian for bitcoin and altcoins. But this is just because one of the founders, Matt Jennings is a life-long Kentuckian.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 48


Louisiana (LA)

The deep south does not seem to have much interest in bitcoin. Louisiana has no regulation on crypto neither. 

Interestingly, studies have shown that Louisiana is the cheapest place to mine bitcoin (in 2017) because of its low energy cost. 

Based on CESCO’s latest study of the cost of cryptocurrency mining across the US, it is currently cheapest to mine Bitcoin in Louisiana -- electricity costs at 9.87 cents per watt puts the average cost of mining one Bitcoin at $3,224. (CoinTelegraph)

Also, it appears that the cash-strapped Louisiana City is taking a page out of Berkeley's play book, and started pitching in April, an Initial Community Offering (ICO) to raise funds for public projects on the blockchain

"The mayor-president did not explain what function this cryptocurrency would serve besides raising funds. He said the goal was to "develop solutions targeting government inefficiencies, and, more importantly, alternatives for financing public infrastructure." (coindesk)

Louisiana is one of those states where the government appears more interested in crypto than the citizens. It will be interesting to follow Berkeley (CA) and Louisiana City's progress with their ICOs. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 43


Maine (ME)

Maine introduced a bill in 2017 to "Study Using Blockchain Technology in Conjunction with Paper Ballots in Maine Elections" (LegiScan). However, this bill was defeated soon after introduction. 

We can say that both residents and the government of Maine are lukewarm towards bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 38


Maryland (MD)

The crypto space has been mostly unregulated in Maryland, with the state simply following federal regulations. In 2018 however, the state government has perked up its interest in the underlying technology.

House Bill 1634 and its companion Senate Bill 1068, together known as the Financial Consumer Protection Act of 2018, would mandate that the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission study the technology and the space.

Afterward, the commission would "include recommendations for State actions to regulate cryptocurrencies in its 2018 report to the Governor and ... the General Assembly regarding State action to regulate cryptocurrencies." (coindesk)

The governor has signed off on both bills, which does not have any specific regulation on crypto just yet, but rather lays the groundwork to formulate such regulations after a research period. 

So, in Maryland, we have a state that has been hands-off but is now interested becoming more involved in the crypto space. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 14


Massachusetts (MA)

On paper Massachusetts appears to have a neutral-to-cautious stance on bitcoin. The state has issued warnings against buying bitcoin (mass.gov), as well as treat ICOs as unregistered securities and thus ordering their stoppage (coindesk.com - May, 2018)

Furthermore, in 2018 the state's Department of Revenue proposed taxing virtual currency transactions: 

" (iii) providing a virtual currency that buyers are allowed or required to use to purchase products from the vendor, or (iv) software development or research and development activities related to any of the activities described in subsection (b) of this definition, if such activities are directly related to a physical or electronic marketplace operated by the person or a related person; and..." (830 CMR 64H.1.7: Vendors Making Internet Sales)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 8


Michigan (MI) 

Michigan does not have regulations on crypto. But there are guidelines on the tax treatment of virtual currencies, which is in-line with the Federal tax treatment of crypto:

“The General Sales Tax Act and the Use Tax Act impose tax at a rate of 6% on the value of consideration given in exchange for tangible personal property.” Tax Policy Division of the Michigan Dept. of Treasury, Treasury Update, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (November 2015), available at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/treasury/Tax-Policy-November2015-Newsletter_504036_7.pdf(last visited 10/02/2017). If that consideration is not given in U.S. dollars, “the taxpayer must convert the value of the consideration to USD as of the date and at the time of the transaction; this requirement includes convertible virtual currency exchanged for taxable property. Therefore, a taxpayer accepting virtual currency in a retail sale transaction must convert the value of the virtual currency to USD as of the day and the exact time of the transaction.” See Tax Policy Division of the Michigan Dept. of Treasury, Treasury Update, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (November 2015), available at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ treasury/Tax-Policy-November2015-Newsletter_504036_7.pdf (last visited 10/02/2017). Because virtual currency itself is not tangible property for purposes of the General Sales Tax Act and the Use Tax Act, virtual currency purchases are not subject to sales tax. (Carlton Fields)

Detroit is a bright spot in Michigan for adoption of crypto. It has 54 crypto ATMS/tellers according to Coin ATM Radar. But at the end of the day, Michigan as a whole is likely going to follow instead of lead crypto legislation and adoption.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 18


Minnesota (MN)

There is a house bill from February 2017 that "would amend the Minnesota Unclaimed Property Act to explicitly include virtual currency as property" (Carlton Fields). This bill HB1608, remains in limbo and doesn't look like it will see the light of day. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 22


Mississippi (MS)

It would be rare to find someone who cares about bitcoin and crypto in the Magnolia state. Not surprisingly, there is no regulation here since everyone has stayed away from bitcoin anyway. 

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 50


Missouri (MO)

The Show-Me State has no regulations on crypto, though it has a ruling that made crypto ATMs viable:

In a letter ruling, the Missouri Department of Revenue determined that an ATM provider “is not required to collect and remit sales or use tax upon transfer of Bitcoins through [their] ATM,” because sales and use taxes are imposed solely on items of tangible personal property. (Carlton Fields)

It did rule against an operation that was using bitcoin to trade stocks. This was mostly due to license and registration issues. (sos.mo.gov).

In Dec 2017, a bill aimed at using the distributed ledger technology (DLT) to store firearm owner data was shot down. It appears that the state won’t regulate unless the technology becomes disruptive (Missouri is a very pro-gun state so it makes sense such “registration or tracking of firearms” was not welcomed).

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 31


Montana (MT)

The Big Sky Country state is more involved than most states in bitcoin and crypto. Since Project Spokane LLC started in 2016, Montana has become a hub for bitcoin mining. In 2017, “Montana has invested $416,000 in Project Spokane LLC” (Bitcoin Market Journal) It is now one of if not THE largest mining facility in North America.

Not surprisingly, the crypto mining facility was not well received by residents close by.

The government is hearing out the complaints and a proposal to suspend bitcoin mining back in June. But the county commissioners decided on a hands off approach for now, as the committee still doesn't fully understand "all the impacts in the future or the long game." (coindesk - June, 2018) After all, these facilities are creating jobs.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 28


Nebraska (NE)

From the existing legislation or those waiting to be approved, it looks like Nebraska wants to be friendly to crypto. It wants to recognize the legality of smart contracts, as well as making sure blockchain technology is not unnecessarily taxed.

LB 691 (2018) would define altcoins under the state’s Money Transmitter Act. LB 695(2018) would allow for the legality of digital signatures and “smart contracts.” LB 694 (2018) would prohibit the taxing of blockchain technology by local governments. LB 987 (2018) would create a regulatory framework for altcoin business activity. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

The bills noted above however, have been indefinitely postponed since April 2018. Still, we have seen some favorable headlines since 2017, such as: Courting Bitcoin? Nebraska Ethics Board Gives Lawyers OK to Accept (coindesk - Sep, 2017)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 35


Nevada (NV)

Nevada appears to be interested and friendly to crypto. In June, 2017, it became the first state to make sure blockchain technology is not banned. (SB398). This bill also recognized legality of signatures on a blockchain.

With its favorable regulations for blockchain, such companies like Blockchains, LLC has been setting up shop here. This company bought a sizeable 162 square miles (as big as a city). I suspect, it will be getting into mining with all this land because power is cheap here at the Tahoe/Reno Industrial Park.

We also saw Bitcoin mining company C4 Mining Co. start development in Southern Nevada according to EastLastVegas.com in March, 2018.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 5


New Hamshire (NH)

Regarded as one of the most Libertarian states in the US, New Hamshire is not surprisingly very friendly to crypto. While a bill to accept bitcoin for state tax HB 552 died, another bill HB 436 that exempted crypto businesses from registering as a money transmitter, was passed in 2017.

In May 2018, MarketWatch.com reported that New Hamshire had 62 establishments that accepted bitcoin. There was even one that only accepts crypto - Free State Bitcoin Shoppe. (Biitcoin.com - April, 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 22


New Jersey (NJ)

New Jersey has been hands-off to slightly favorable towards crypto. According to Bitcoin Market Journal, “AB 3433 (2017) allowed an executor, agent, or trustee to manage the electronic records of a principal or decedent. “ There is also a “Digital Currency Jobs Creation Act” (AB 1906) that is still waiting for a vote since January 2018.

In 2015, NJ provided guidance that it was following federal tax treatment of crypto as intangible property, subject to sales tax. (TAM - 2015-1(R) Issued July 28, 2015)

In 2018, NJ made headlines when it shut down Bitstrade, which was an investment-pool that used bitcoin to buy stocks. The issue wasn’t with the business model, but with inadequate registration and aggressive marketing. (Fortune - Feb. 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 6


New Mexico (NM)

New Mexico has no regulations on bitcoin. Although it now requires money transmitters to obtain a license (HB 250), it is not clear whether it views virtual currency as money.

It surprised me to find out that the first bitcoin ATM in the US was opened in Alburquerque, NM. (coindesk - Feb, 2014). By the time of this research, Coin ATM Radar reports only 3 bitcion ATMs in New Mexico, all in Alburquerque.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 42


New York (NY)

New York state is essentially run by NYC, and NYC is driven by Wall Street. Old money has not been welcoming to crypto. Since 2015, when BitLicense was implemented, the Empire State only granted 6 licenses: Circle (2015), Ripple (2016), Coinbase (2017), bitFlyer (2017), Genesis Global Trading (2017), and Xapo (2018).

BitLicense requires a $5,000 fee for a license to operate a bitcoin/altcoin business in NY. Meanwhile, there are several proposed bills to further explore how to leverage blockchain technology in the state:

AB 8780 (2017) recognized the legality of blockchain-held signatures, records, and “smart contracts.” AB 8792 (2017) would enable a task force to study the use of blockchain to safeguard election integrity. AB 8793 (2017) would establish a task force to explore the use of blockchain for record keeping and information storage purposes. AB 8783 would create a task force that would study the effect of altcoins on the state’s financial markets. AB 9685 (2018) would create a task force to study the potential and impact of a state-issued altcoin. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

These bills are all in limbo right now in 2018. But maybe we will see more activity after the gubernatorial race.

While there are some proposals to gut the BitLicense, it has already done its damage of pushing and keeping out a lot of blockchain companies. Note that the architect of the BitLicense, Ben Lawsky, joined the board of directors of Ripple before Ripple got its license approved. Conflict of interest anyone?

It is ironic that New York, California and Hawaii rank the strongest in terms of bitcoin interest, but also have some of the most restrictive crypto regulations. I think when these 3 states start to loosen up its reigns on crypto, we will start seeing more favorable regulations in other states as well.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 3


North Carolina (NC)

The Tarheal State has leaned on the restrictive side when it comes to crypto regulation, but is becoming more friendly. A business that makes crypto transactions is required to obtain a license and insurance based on HB 289 (2016) and HB 229 (2017). However, there are some exemptions:

The law provides several exemptions, however, including for virtual currency miners as well as for software companies implementing blockchain services such as smart contract platforms, smart property, multi-signature software, and non-custodial and non-hosted wallets. (Carlton Fields)

In June of 2018, Governor Roy Cooper passed House Bill 86. Many see this bill being favorable to crypto businesses because it provides definitions, clarity and guidelines for crypto operations.

Not all headlines have been positive for bitcoin. A recent ruling in July barred political candidates from accepting campaign donations in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. (News Observer - July, 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 33


North Dakota (ND)

North Dakota wanted to explore crypto, but the bill to do so SB 2100 (2017) has failed to pass.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 22


Ohio (OH)

The Buckeye State has been mostly quiet on crypto, but appears to be taking an interest in 2018.

Back in 2014, it banned the use of bitcoin and other cyptocurrencies to purchase alcohol. Ohio Bans Bitcoin for Alcohol Sales (coindesk - April, 2014).

In 2018, Ohio introduced a bill (SB 300) that would legally recognize blockchain data. The summary of the bill reads:

“To amend sections 1306.01, 1306.04, and 1306.06 of the Revised Code to amend the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act to define records and contracts secured by blockchain technology as electronic records and to allow the use of smart contract terms. “

We saw Florida and Nebraska postpone similar bills to recognize blockchain data and smart contracts. Will Ohio also drag its feet? Or is it more serious about adopting the technology?

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 32


Oklahoma (OK)

The Sooner State is clearly hostile against crypto.

Okla. Stat. Ann. § 1-9-332 stated that altcoin transferees are not to be afforded money transfer protections while maintaining there is an “existing security interest” attached to altcoin transactions. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 43


Oregon (OR)

Oregon is mostly hands off to somewhat restrictive when it comes to crypto. The states position is murky as it granted Coinbase a license to operate, but did not grant one to CEX.IO. Both are exchanges, but Coinbase in based in the US while CEX.IO is an international organization. (Money Transmitter Law)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 14


Pennsylvania (PA)

It’s not clear if Pennsylvania is friendly or otherwise to crypto because there are no regulations. It did however define virtual currency as money under House Bill 850, which was passed in November, 2016. It reads:

"Money" means currency or legal tender or any other product that is generally recognized as a medium of exchange and shall include any form of virtual currency.

We will probably see more regulation ahead, but for now, the state seems to be focused on other things than to bother with crypto.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 18


Rhode Island (RI)

There are no crypto regulations at the time of this research.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 25


South Carolina (SC)

South Carolina requires money transmitters to be licensed, but did not clarify whether that includes virtual currencies in its 2016 Anti-Money Laundering Act (AB 266)

The state does not appear to have a strong position. It has been restrictive in “refusing to allow candidates to receive contributions in the form of digital currency - or cryptocurrency” (FITSNEWS - May, 2018). But, it has also loosened up by removing case-and-desist orders for a couple of blockchain startups, Genesis Mining and ShipChain.

South Carolina State Regulators Withdraw Enforcement Actions on Two Blockchain Startups (CoinTelegraph - July 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 45


South Dakota (SD)

South Dakota does not have any crypto regulations. It is a very Libertarian state, so I believe when regulations do come, they will be favorable to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 40


Tennessee (TN)

Tennessee has introduced legislation that appear to be favorable to the adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. So far, the state has issued guidance saying that virtual currency is NOT money, and therefore no license is required for it (Regulatory Treatment of Virtual Currencies under the Tennessee Money Transmitter Act - PDF).

HB 1507 would recognize the right to do business on the blockchain and retain ownership of the personal information on the blockchain. HB 2093 would prohibit trustees of any defined contribution plan or state insurance company’s health benefit investment vehicle from investing in altcoins. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

HB 1507 also establishes recognizes payments with digital currencies as legal. Both bills were passed in March 2018.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 41


Texas (TX)

The Lone Star State is a very Libertarian one so its no surprise that it has a friendly regulation scheme for crypto. It has posited that cryptocurrency is not money and not subject to regulation, yet it permits real estate transactions to occur with bitcoin (Bitcoin Market Journal)

A bill that would have allowed the state to own crypto (HJR 89) however was struck down.

It is also no surprise that the Chinese crypto mining behemoth, Bitmain is investing $500 million “over an initial period of seven years into the local, county, and statewide economies. The Milam County blockchain data center and cryptocurrency mining facility represents a key component of Bitmain’s strategic investment and expansion plans within North America. “ (Business Wire - August, 2018)

Note that Ross Ulbricht was born and raised in Texas. He is the founder of the infamous “Silk Road”, which had great synergy with bitcoin in those early days of the crypto. (It both benefited from bitcoin, and drove bitcoin’s popularity at the time).

We can continue to expect openness from Texas, but at one point, it will swing back the other way because unscrupulous businesses will try to take advantage of the lax regulations. Even then, we would still regard Texas as relatively friendly to crypto.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 28


Utah (UT)

Utah is friendly to crypto and is trying to put forth favorable regulations.

Bill HC006, which would create a council to study whether the state should allow taxes to be paid with crypto, has stalled since March 2015.

In March 2018, the state did pass SB 175, which essentially defines virtual currency as “property”

Note that Salt Lake City, Utah is the home of overstock.com, which is one of the first large internet companies to accept bitcoin for purchases.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 7


Vermont (VT)

Vermont has been introducing legislation to use blockchain in the court system, study blockchain technology, and to attract blockchain projects.

HB 868 (2016) allowed blockchain data to be used in the state’s court system. HB 182(2017) defined altcoins to be subject to state money transmitter rules. SB 135(2017) would allow the state to study the integration of blockchain technology. SB 269 would create a regulatory framework for blockchain projects. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

SB269 was the latest bill to be passed, and it “calls for a study – due before January 15 of next year – into the tech's use in insurance and banking and how state officials can clear the way for such applications within the state's economy. “ (coindesk - May, 2018)

Earlier in March, Propy.com reported that the First US real estate transaction in blockchain was completed in South Burlington, Vermont using the Propy platform. (zerohedge - March, 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 26


Virginia (VA)

Virginia is very friendly to crypto and has seen a surge in mining companies setting up here. In February 2017, it passed a bill that “allows fiduciaries to manage digital property such as computer files, web domains, and virtual currency, and restricts a fiduciary's access to electronic communications such as email, text messages, and social media accounts unless the original user consented to such access in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other record. “ (HB 1608)

In January 2018, Virginia also introduced House Join Resolution 153, which called for a subcommittee to study blockchain, but has not be voted in yet.

There is a 65 Million USD mining facility being developed in Virginia Beach, which involved a $500K subsidy from the local Virginia Beach government According to the Virginia Pilot in January 2018,

“BCause LLC, which launched five years ago in Virginia Beach, is opening the first sizable commercial data center on the East Coast for customers who want bitcoins. It will also be the largest in North America, according to the company’s founder, Tom Flake. “

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 17


Washington (WA)

Washington is one of the most restrictive states on crypto. Senate Bill 5031 was passed in April 2017, requiring a license for businesses trasmitting cryptocurrencies. It is currently trying to add more requirements as well as define enforcement on crypto exchanges. (HB 1045)

Washington has attracted crypto mining operations. In response, “a Central Washington utility disctrict has increased power rates for cryptocurrency miners and other evolving-industry firms.” (Capital Press - Aug. 2018)

It is interesting that top 4 states in in terms of bitcoin interest (HI, CA, NY, and WA) are some of the toughest on crypto.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 4


West Virginia (WV)

The Mountain State sees crypto as a money laundering instrument in bill HB2585, which was passed in May 2017. However, it may be warming up to crypto:

“A bill was introduced that, if enacted, would require the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study Bitcoin. H.B. 29, 83rd Leg. Re. Sess. (W. Va. 2018). A bill was recently introduced that, if enacted, would require the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study Bitcoin. H.B. 29, 83rd Leg. Re. Sess. (W. Va. 2018). “ (Carlton Fields)

While the state shuns cryptocurrencies, it is interested in leveraging the underlying blockchain technology for the local administration. According to Coindesk in August, “West Virginia is rolling out a blockchain-based mobile voting app to all of the state's 55 counties so that military personnel stationed abroad can more easily cast their ballots in the midterm elections. “

Based on the shift in attitude in 2018, we are likely going to see more interest in bitcoin going forward. But this is one of those states where the government seems to be leading the effort to study and push for crypto/blockchain adoption.

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 49


Wisconsin (WI)

Wisconsin doesn’t have a strong stance for or against crypto and has no regulations on it. It has been reluctant in granting money transmitter licenses to virtual currency businesses, and

“requires an agreement if a company deals in virtual currency stating that the company will not use virtual currency to transmit money…The state has also made it clear that the purchases of taxable goods or services made with virtual currencies are subject to state sales tax, just like any other purchase, but that the virtual currency itself is not subject to sales tax because they are not tangible personal property. “ (Carlton Fields)

There has been some push to make Wisconsin the third state/region after Montana and Washington DC to allow political candidates to accept bitcoin for campaign donation. (Star Tribune - April 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 30


Wyoming (WY)

We end the list with one of the friendliest states to crypto. Some call the Cowboy State “crypto haven”. But it wasn’t also this way. Leading the charge for adoption is Caitlin Long - Wyoming born and raised, Wall Street veteran, and co-founder of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.

The list of proposed legislation in 2018 are all favorable to crypto because they offer clear definitions and guidelines. Not many other states have been so specific.

HB 70 (2018) would make utility tokens neither money nor a security for the sake of those that may exchange such tokens. HB 19 (2018) would exempt altcoins from the state’s Money Transmitters Act. HB 101 (2018) would allow corporations to use blockchains to maintain corporate records. HB 126 (2018) would allow the creation of LLCs favorable to blockchains. HB 111(2018) would exempt altcoins from state property tax. (Bitcoin Market Journal)

Based on public records, these bills have not been fully implemented yet, but are all passing the house and senate with unanimous or near unanimous votes. Barring a political shake-up, I expect these bills to all be signed and fully in play by the end of 2019 if not in 2018.

A developments that reflects WY’s new welcoming stance is the return of Coinbase since in August 2018 since it lost its license to operate back in June 2015. Events such as the WyoHackathon at the University of Wyoming also attract future crypto and blockchain entrepreneurs. (Crypto Briefing - Sept, 2018)

Wyoming is definitely standing out with its HB 70 bill that differs from federal definitions, “as the SEC considers cryptocurrencies to be securities, FinCEN says they’re generally money, and the CFTC views them as commodities” (Cointelegraph - March 2018)

Bitcoin interest based on google trends rank (1-50, not including DC): 40

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