By Renée Jean, Business and Tourism Reporter
Wyoming has developed one of the most comprehensive regulatory frameworks for digital assets in the world, a kind of red carpet that lawmakers hoped would be attractive to companies that want to do things right in a rapidly evolving business sector.
So far, the strategy is working to attract such companies to the state. Several of them in fact, noted during testimony to lawmakers Friday. Officials said they brought their companies to Wyoming because of the laws the state has created that protect business and consumers from fraudsters and con artists.
But there’s one problem with what the state has done so far.
The venture capitalists and angel investors — who hold the purse strings — do not know very much at all about what Wyoming has done, or why they should want the companies they are capitalizing to locate in the Cowboy State.
TruckCoinSwap is among digital asset companies that have located in Wyoming recently because of its favorable and clear regulatory framework.
The company has created a utility token with the Etherium and Polygon blockchains that truck drivers can use to more quickly clear their invoices to not only get their payments sooner, but without the transaction fees that are cutting into drivers’ margins and that shipping companies ultimately pass on to consumers.
At FreightWaves Future of Freight Festival in Tennessee, TruckCoinSwap recently demonstrated a mobile and web app for freight documents to what CEO and co-founder Todd Ziegler described as “thunderous applause.” They were approached by key transportation industries that represent access to more than 3 million American truck drivers.
What About Wyoming?
But Jacob Centner, chief technology officer and co-founder for TCS, told Cowboy State Daily that he was dismayed to learn not long after that most of the venture capitalists, angel investors and other parties that TruckCoinSwap’s CFO and co-founder Phillip Schlump talked to do not know anything about what Wyoming has done.
“Wyoming is, we have a lead right? We’ve got this legal framework established so that companies like ours can come here and build,” Centner said. “We talked to over 20 venture capital funds, and all of them asked where we were based, and we told them Wyoming, and they all asked why.
“We had to explain to them that our legislators have passed dozens of bills, and that our Legislature actually understands this industry, and that’s why we are here.”
State Needs Marketing
Centner, Ziegler and Schlump brought their concerns to lawmakers in Cheyenne on Friday during hearings of the Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation Technology.
“This is the blockchain world where half of everything is marketing,” Schlump testified. “And tremendous work will go to waste if you don’t get out there and actually build this list (of major venture funding organizations) and start like contacting these people to actually make certain they and the world understand why Wyoming is unique and special and has something to offer this market that no one else does.”
State Needs A Plan
Sen. Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie, co-chairs the committee and said that TruckCoinSwap’s point is well-taken.
“Marketing is not something Wyoming does very well, honestly,” he said. “It is one of the reasons why Delaware leads. They have a marketing plan for corporations.”
In prior discussions, state officials and lawmakers have focused on getting all the attorneys who are working with digital asset companies to recognize Wyoming’s strengths in the sector.
“But it’s not just the attorneys that make that decision,” Rothfuss acknowledged. “It’s literally the angel investors.”
The Wyoming Business Council is likely where such a message would come from, Rothfuss suggested.
“They should have the resources already to do that,” he said.