Wyoming Approves Regulatory Sandbox for Blockchain Startups

Wyoming regulatory sandbox blockchain startups cryptocurrency

Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Wyoming have approved a bill introducing a regulatory sandbox for blockchain startups, in a bid to foster development and innovation in the sector.

In the latest move from the state toward embracing the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors, the Wyoming House Committee on Minerals, Business and Economic Development approved the legislation, known as the financial technology sandbox bill, last week.

The bill will now go back to the legislature for approval, which could then see the sandbox enacted as law. The act will give state authorities the power to waive laws that would otherwise present challenges to blockchain startups, to enable more freedom for testing within existing laws.

The move has been welcomed by industry representatives, who often lobby for more amenable regulatory treatment for blockchain startups, particularly around financial services where some of the toughest legal regimes apply.

Rather than rewriting the laws, or running the risk of stifling innovation, the new bill will make it easier for companies to explore blockchain technologies and systems without the need for full regulatory compliance and licensing up front.

Caitlin Long, co-founder of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, said the state “already has an efficient approach to regulation compared to most other states” and that the new measures would make conditions even more favorable for blockchain innovators.

“Wyoming’s sandbox provides a one-year alternative for innovators, and it can be extended for a second year. That’s a lot of runway for disruptors looking to try new things.”

While committee approval is regarded as one of the most significant hurdles for any bill, there are still 13 further steps before it can become law. With the legislative session scheduled to come to a close in March, there is optimism from Long and others that the bill can proceed during this term.

Wyoming has emerged as one of the more forward-thinking U.S. states on blockchain law and regulation, with a number of measures already in place that support firms developing blockchain technology.

If the sandbox becomes law, it could provide a model for other states in shaping their approach to encouraging innovation and research.