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Legislators Introduce Cryptocurrency Legislation

Senator Bennette E. Misalucha, Senator Glenn Wakai, and Representative Patrick Pihana Branco are spearheading efforts to have the Hawai‘i State Legislature take up cryptocurrency-related legislation this session. Together, they have introduced four bills that propose to make Hawai‘i a more conducive place for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Some legislators, including Senator Misalucha, hope that the bills introduced this year can remove the barriers of entry for local residents to engage in cryptocurrency exchanges.

“I have received calls and emails from constituents who have felt stymied by the challenges of buying cryptocurrencies here, which is largely due in part to the restrictions that are currently in place,” said Senator Misalucha, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism. “Hawai‘i can really become a leader in the world of cryptocurrencies if we took the right, necessary steps to appropriately regulate and monitor its growth and potential. The bills I introduced along with Senator Wakai and Representative Branco aim to provide various steps towards that goal and I hope my colleagues will join us in supporting Hawai‘i’s growing influence in this economic sector.”

The following includes a list of highlighted bills that address cryptocurrency-related issues:

SB2695 – Establishes a Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Task Force.

SB2696 – Allows the Director of Finance to authorize any state agency to enter into virtual currency payment agreements with persons or virtual currency issuers to provide the acceptance of convertible virtual currency as a means of payment. Allows any state agency that enters into a virtual currency agreement with a person or virtual currency issuer as authorized by the Director of Finance to accept convertible virtual currency.

HB2287/SB2697 – Excludes the electronic transfer of virtual currency through virtual currency companies and cryptocurrency companies from the Money Transmitters Act.

SB2698 – Prohibits any encumbrance on the right to own, possess, and use any medium of exchange.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Division of Financial Institutions has also put forward their own legislation, HB2108/SB3076, which establishes a program for the licensure, regulation, and oversight of digital currency companies.


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