Wyoming Virtual Currency Plan Clears House

in News/Legislature

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A plan to make Wyoming the first state with its own virtual currency won final approval from the House on Thursday.

Senate File 106, allowing the state to create and sell “Wyoming stable tokens,” was approved on a vote of 48-10.

A “stable token” is a form of virtual currency whose value is backed by solid assets. Its value is much more stable than that of other virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin. Stable tokens allow people to trade in the digital realm without experiencing rapid fluctuations in the value of their digital currency.

Under SF106, the state would sell, in virtual realms, Wyoming stable tokens for $1 each. The money used to buy the tokens would be invested in treasury bills and the state would keep the interest.

Discussion on the bill Thursday focused on a proposed change in the way the interest income would be used.

The bill originally proposed dividing the income between the state’s Permanent Mineral Trust Fund and the common school account.

Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, successfully offered an amendment to split the income three ways and add in the state’s school foundation account.

Harshman said while he likes the idea of putting the income into two “savings accounts,” he would also like to use some of the money to help schools immediately.

“(The amendment) says we’re going to take a third of this and spend it on today’s kids,” he said.

The amendment was adopted despite arguments that if it is rejected by the Senate, the state’s adoption of the token program could be delayed.

“I think this is a discussion we can wait and have at a later date,” said Rep. Mark Baker, R-Green River. “If we put this off, we really have missed the opportunity and we won’t be leading the way, we’ll be following.”

Backers of the bill had said earlier that as the first state selling stable tokens, Wyoming could become the nation’s leader in the field.

Representatives voted for Harshman’s amendment after Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, said he did not believe the amendment would slow adoption of a program and added he agreed that some of the earnings from the program should be put to immediate use.

“I do think the way the bill was structured, we were sending everything into savings,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with forecasting some of those dollars now to work on deficit issues we’ve been concerned about.”

At the end of the day, it’s important to get this bill across the finish line. I do think the way the bill was structured, we were sending everything into savings. There’s nothing wrong with forecasting some oft hose dolalrs now to work on deficit issues we’ve been concerned about. 

I think this is a discussion we can wait and have at a later date when we see th eamount of revenue that could be potetnailly created withy something like this. 

The time factor in this is imperative. If we don’t move now, if we put this off, we really have missed the oportruity and we won’t be leading the way, we’ll be following.

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