By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon’s veto of a bill that would have allowed Wyoming to issue its own virtual currency is being welcomed by state Treasurer Curt Meier, but met with disappointment by one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
On Friday, Gordon vetoed Senate File 106, which would have allowed the state to create and sell Wyoming “stable tokens.” The stable tokens would have a fixed value and would be backed by the state’s assets so they would not see the value fluctuations of other virtual currency.
In a letter to Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, Gordon said that he was vetoing the bill for a couple of reasons, primarily that Wyoming Treasurer Curt Meier’s office is already struggling to keep up with its current obligations and the new law would add more burden.
“I believe there are good ideas contained in this act, but I am concerned that not all stakeholders were consulted prior to its passage by the Legislature,” Gordon wrote. “Wyoming’s reputation is at stake, as are the reputations of the individuals tasked with implementing this act, should the effort fail.”
Gordon recommended the Legislature take up the topic as an interim study.
Treasurer OK With Veto
Meier told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that while he believed his office could have established the stable token by the end of the year, the key to having a successful stable token launch was in the marketing.
“You must create demand and demonstrate something that makes your particular token unique in an area that is already full of competitors,” he said. “There is potential for establishing a successful launch of a stable token, but I concur with the Governor that we need to study the issue further.”
Nor is the office’s chief investment officer an expert on digital assets, Meier said, and the time needed for him to prepare for the launch of a digital currency wold have been siginficant.
“SF106 would have taken a lot of his time and attention as part of this launch,” he said. “In this unstable market, our CIO needs to concentrate on what he is supposed to do – manage and build our portfolio. I thank the Governor for giving us our CIO back and allowing him to do the job he was hired to do.
Olsen ‘Sorely Disappointed’
But bill co-sponsor Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that he was “sorely disappointed” Gordon vetoed the bill, as it passed both the Wyoming House and Senate with more than two-thirds majorities in each chamber.
“In terms of this bill being vetted, on the House side, I sat through four House Appropriations meetings [about the legislation],” Olsen told Cowboy State Daily. “In my time in the Legislature, it is very rare that a bill take two committee meetings, let alone four. So the fact that it took four committee meetings told me that one of our most senior and experienced committees was taking its time vetting this issue.”
Olsen said that since there were four meetings about the bill during the session, there was plenty of opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in on the bill.
While Olsen did not disagree with Gordon’s assessment about the treasurer’s office, he did not think this meant Wyoming should stop moving forward. However, he had no intention of picking the legislation up as a potential interim study topic.
“We had the opportunity to be the first in the world with something like this, and I am 99% certain we have missed the boat, and you don’t get another bite at an apple like this,” he said.
Bill sponsor Sen. Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie, did not return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.