Gordon, Lummis: Federal Reserve move boosts Wyoming’s lead on cryptocurrency banking


CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and Wyoming’s U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis said in a press release Wednesday that they welcome the Federal Reserve’s step which could lead to approval of Wyoming chartered “special purpose depository institutions” (SPDIs).

SPDIs are custodial banks for digital assets (such as Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies) “that provide safekeeping and on- and off-ramps to the capital markets,” Wednesday’s release from the governor’s office said. “Wyoming’s digital asset framework is the first comprehensive digital asset regulations in the United States.”

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that they were opening a public comment period for proposed account access guidelines to evaluate requests for accounts and payment services at Federal Reserve Banks.

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“Recent years have seen the introduction of new financial products and delivery mechanisms for traditional banking services, notably leveraging emerging technologies, including from institutions with novel types of banking charters designed to support such innovation,” the Federal Reserve said. “To facilitate these activities, some such institutions have requested access to the payments system offered by Federal Reserve Banks.”

Gordon’s office said that Wyoming has been working over the last three years to develop “expertise in digital assets and the future of finance.” The legislature passed a bill in 2019 to create special purpose depository institutions to serve businesses such as blockchain businesses that may not have access to traditional banking. The governor’s office notes that other legislation in Wyoming has recognized digital assets as property and cleared the way for banks to act as crypto custodians.

Gordon said the Federal Reserve’s announcement “is encouraging news and the culmination of an extended effort where Wyoming took the lead. This was an unprecedented task and I appreciate the collaborative work that has occurred throughout the process. I’m committed to ensuring that Wyoming remains a national leader in the digital asset realm.”

Lummis said the Federal Reserve’s move “is a major step toward promoting responsible innovation in our banking system. The Account Access Guidelines recognize that access to our payment system is a privilege, not a right and that there are basic safety and soundness standards that all banks, including Wyoming’s special purpose depository institutions, must meet. Wyoming has developed the United States’ best regulatory framework for digital assets and others are beginning to recognize this fact too.”

“I’m proud of the Federal Reserve for thoughtfully considering Wyoming’s leadership. I look forward to working together with the Board of Governors, the Reserve Banks, the FDIC, NCUA and the OCC to promote responsible innovation in our banking system and on the United States Senate Banking Committee.”