United States of Bitcoin: Illinois Gives Crypto Love While Other States Hate
The United States continues to divide over the issue of cryptocurrency generally and bitcoin in particular. Idaho and Alaska issued crypto investment warnings, while Iowa’s Insurance Division cautions against the digital asset’s “high risk,” and Utah announces “scam” scares. Illinois bucks the worrywarts, however, and is instead crafting legislation that would welcome crypto businesses and innovation.
Illinois Wants No Part of New York’s Bitlicense Overregulation
In a trend-bucking move, legislators in the midwest state of Illinois are trying to craft legislation that would help the state welcome what some in their ranks see as an innovation. “New York went in and over regulated [bitcoin] and what ended up happening was a lot of those companies left the state,” representative Jaime Andrade reminded.
Mr. Andrade was responding to a bureaucratic report declaring bitcoin to not be a currency. It just so happens Mr. Andrade is the Chair of the state’s House Committee on Cyber Security. He’s even, with colleague Mike Zalewski, set up a crypto subcommittee to help better educate the public.
Illinois is also home to the city of Chicago, Frank Sinatra’s kind of town. Birthplace of Jazz. The state was the first to use electric street lighting, and it generates more nuclear power than any other in the US. The state knows cool and useful.
“With myself and Zalewski working on this together,” he continued, “I think we will be able to make sure we protect the consumer, but at the same time, we work with the companies and all the other organizations to make sure the state of Illinois is an inviting environment for this type of technology.”
For his part, Mr. Zalewski says: “We are under tremendous pressure in this state to make government more efficient,” presumably referencing bitcoin’s blockchain database. “This technology has the opportunity to help remake government. That’s what we’re interested in.”
And Chicago, of course, is home to the first bitcoin futures contracts (Cboe and CME). Illinois is well familiar with cutting edge innovation. “The goal of this is not to regulate it in a way that’s going to make people uncomfortable to use it in the future,” Representative Zalewski urged.
The Usual Cannards and Half Truths
Meanwhile, Alaska and Idaho each issued separate warnings about cryptocurrencies. In Idaho, regulators worry too few of its inhabitants fail to “go beyond the headlines and hype to understand the risks associated with investments in cryptocurrencies” before plunking down their hard earned cash.
Alaska’s regulator believes its citizens are just plain confused. “What exactly do I get for my investments?” the regulator asks. “Will it be tangible? Is it kept in some sort of a blockchain? And if it’s in a blockchain, what is a blockchain and how does that operate with your investments?” That, or there might’ve been a contest for how many times a bureaucrat could weave the word blockchain into a quote.
In Iowa, regulators caution: “Investing in cryptocurrencies is not for the faint of heart,” they insist. Cryptos have “an unproven track record and carry a high risk of fraud that should cause consumers to be cautious.”
Finally, Utah minders urge “Utah’s reputation as a technically savvy and connected state makes our population ripe for crypto-currency fraud,” and yet, while “it’s a compliment to our population for being plugged into what’s trending, internet hype can lead to rash decisions”.
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