The biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the United States, Coinbase, has reopened to residents of Wyoming after a three-year hiatus, due to a change in the law that exempts virtual currency businesses from having to deposit double reserves with the state to get a money transmitter license. Coinbase once again has a money transmitter license in the state of Wyoming, and the less than 1 million people that live across the sparse plains of Wyoming can buy and sell cryptocurrency on Coinbase.
In June 2015, Coinbase closed its doors to Wyoming residents since it determined that it would be too costly and impractical to obtain a money transmitter license from state regulators. Coinbase would have been required to deposit double the value of Wyoming residents’ cryptocurrency assets with the state for reserve purposes. This law was created to protect traders and investors but ultimately, it caused every legitimate crypto exchange to abandon Wyoming. This left Wyoming residents with no options besides peer-to-peer dealing through sites like Localbitcoins, which might still be illegal because that could be considered money transmitting.
In March 2018, the Wyoming legislature changed the law to exempt virtual currency businesses. Coinbase had been actively working with Wyoming politicians to make this happen, including David Miller from the Wyoming House of Representatives, Eli Bebout who is the state senator of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Division of Banking.
This follows another victory in 2017 after Coinbase obtained the New York BitLicense allowing them to resume services for New York residents. Coinbase left New York and Wyoming around the same time in 2015 amid a frenzy of new crypto regulations across the United States caused by money laundering concerns.
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