By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s first bank for cryptocurrencies will likely open in October, months ahead of its originally scheduled opening of some time in 2021.
According to a news release from Avanti Financial Group Inc., founded by Wyoming native and blockchain advocate Caitlin Long, the group received formal notice from the Wyoming Division of Banking that Avanti’s application for a bank charter was accepted on July 15.
Avanti applied for a bank charter under Wyoming’s special-purpose depository institution law. It will likely do business under the name “Avanti Bank and Trust.”
Long and the Avanti team expect to be open for banking business as early as October.
“Our charter application incorporates truly novel ideas that have received detailed scrutiny from multiple regulators. It is the culmination of an enormous effort by Avanti’s fantastic team — several thousand hours of planning and work with regulators, and hundreds of pages of supporting policies, procedures and documentation,” Long said in the release.
The company expects to serve as a “compliant bridge to the U.S. dollar payments system and a custodian of digital assets that can meet the strictest level of institutional custody standards.”
Avanti will be required to fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including federal “know your customer,” anti-money laundering and related laws and regulations. It will also comply with Wyoming’s SPDI and digital asset laws, which include requirements that fiat deposits be 100% reserved and that Avanti meet the strictest consumer protections in the digital asset industry.
Avanti also announced a new product to modernize U.S. dollar payments, called Avit, which is also nicknamed the “stablecoin disruptor.” Avit will only be able to be issued by a bank and will likely be treated as a cash equivalent.
A “stablecoin” is designed to ease volatility in the value of cryptocurrency. Its value can be pegged to the value of items such as paper money and commodities.
Avit is designed for use by institutional traders and corporate treasurers when they prefer a real-time payment settlement solution in dollars that doesn’t suffer from the delayed settlement and chargeback issues of traditional payment solutions or the legal, accounting and tax issues of “stablecoins.”
“I’m thrilled that the OCC yesterday followed Wyoming in allowing banks to provide custody for digital assets,” Long continued. “Wyoming has been developing its digital asset custody initiative for two years and already has a comprehensive framework and supervisory process in place, which does not exist elsewhere. The OCC and 49 other states do not yet have in place the comprehensive legal structure necessary for enabling digital asset custody without significant legal risk. They also do not have a roadmap for courts to adjudicate disputes involving digital assets and do not provide the certainty in bankruptcy that Wyoming provides for digital asset custodians. Its prudential standards make Wyoming the only jurisdiction in the U.S. where digital asset custody in a bank can truly be executed in a safe and sound manner.”