California Governor Signs Order to Regulate Cryptocurrencies in the State

A bitcoin ATM inside a store in New York City.

Foto:
Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

Tech investors and California companies have bet on cryptocurrencies for more than a decade. Now, the governor of the state with the largest economy in the country officially joins that trend.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Wednesday on cryptocurrencies, establishing a roadmap for regulatory and consumer protections and examining the ways in which the state can take advantage of blockchain technologies and digital assets, according to cnbc.com.

“Of the 800 blockchain companies in North America, roughly a quarter of them are in California, dramatically more than any other state,” told CNBC Dee Dee Myers, Newsom’s senior adviser and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “We’ve heard from so many who want to be here, and we want to help them do it responsibly.”

Newsom is directing the state’s business and economic development office to work collaboratively with the California Housing, Consumer and Business Services Agency and the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

The order is designed to “create a transparent and consistent business environment for businesses operating on blockchain, including crypto assets and related financial technologies, that aligns California and federal laws, balances benefits and risks to consumers, and embodies California values, such as equity, inclusion and protection of the environment”.

California agencies to present their findings on cryptocurrencies and recommend next steps. The order “will reflect consultation with relevant state agencies regarding upcoming federal reports on the relationship of crypto assets to priorities in energy, climate, and crime prevention.”

Myers said the agencies plan to hold roundtables and listening sessions with industry leaders, consumer advocates and even critics. Under California’s plan, the order would align with the proposal that the Biden administration did in March to examine the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies.

Some 37 states have pending legislation on cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In February, New Hampshire issued an executive order to propose new bitcoin laws.

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