Push for pro-cryptocurrency reform hits NH Senate

Cryptocurrencies include, from left to right, Bitcoin, Ripple XRP, Dogecoin, and Ethereum.

Republican lawmakers who invest in cryptocurrency or work in the industry have told a state Senate committee that New Hampshire should change its business regulations to make it easier for the crypto industry to flourish here.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Keith Ammon of New Boston, likened his bill, House Bill 1503 – which, among other things, would exempt the sale of “open blockchain tokens” from US securities laws. ‘State – establishing ‘rules of the road’ for cryptocurrency transactions.

“Sometimes we focus on small problems to solve, and sometimes we look at really big problems to solve,” Ammon said. “It’s kind of on the larger end of the scale, it encompasses a broad subject.”

The Senate’s consideration of the bill, which was narrowly approved by the House in March, comes at a time when cryptocurrency advocates are scrambling to shape regulatory policy in State Houses across the country.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the law yet, and even more unfortunate, the federal government doesn’t have a framework in place to regulate a company like ours,” Grafton representative Lex Berezhny told the committee.

Berezhny works for New Hampshire-based LBRY, a Blockchain-built YouTube competitor that has been sued by the SEC for selling $6.2 million worth of unregistered titles, an allegation the company denies.

Berezhny said he doesn’t see this bill as a “silver bullet” for companies like LBRY, but hopes it can “start to form a consensus on how this industry can be regulated.”

How equipped the NH Legislature is to perform this task is unclear. Several members of the committee quickly admitted that cryptography was not a subject of particular expertise.

“I get that. If you keep it at this level, I’m fine,” Senator Bill Gannon of Sandown said, when the concept of ‘consumption’ was compared to how a child might redeem a won ticket. by playing Skee-Ball for a prize but not for money.

Senator Harold French of Franklin, chairman of the committee, meanwhile shared an anecdote about prior contact with cryptocurrency policy-making that occurred when he served in the House.

“I think we had similar legislation coming, and Bitcoin was there. I think they offered me bitcoin for $10 each, and I said, “Are you crazy? French told the other committee members. “Obviously I wasn’t forward-thinking enough.”

The Senate won’t be alone in Concord considering cryptocurrency and blockchain policy.

In February, Governor Chris Sununu established a Cryptocurrency Commission. Sununu has yet to weigh the bill directly before lawmakers, but said he expects his commission, headed by Concord attorney Bill Ardinger, to come up with policies to “promote the economic growth, fostering innovation and meeting changing customer needs while ensuring safety, soundness and consumer protection.

These recommendations are expected in August.

This article is shared by the partners of the Granite State News Collaborative. For more information, visit collaborativenh.org.

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