These interactive tools help track how current state money transmission law applies to digital currency activities, as well as the different state legislative and regulatory efforts aimed at digital currency.
Historically, the several states (rather than the federal government) have been the primary regulators of “money transmitters.” Those regulations focus on consumer protection. A customer must trust a money transmitter to not lose, steal, or misdirect their money, and every state has, over the years, found ways to police breaches of that trust. With the exception of Montana, every state now requires businesses performing money transmission as a service for customers in their state to be licensed. That means that each state has, independently, drafted a definition of “money transmission,” and if a business’s activities with residents of a particular state fit the definition of “money transmission” in that state, then the business will need a license from that state in order to avoid violating state (and federal) law.
Whether any activity involving digital currency fits the definition of “money transmission” in a particular state’s law will depend on how broadly the state’s legislature drafted that definition and whether the state has adopted legislation specifically addressing digital currency activities or whether the licensing authority has issued interpretive guidance. In some states the definition is broad, in others it is narrow, and only a handful of states have offered digital-currency-specific legislation or guidance. The interactive map above tracks which is which.
Legislative and regulatory processes can often be murky and difficult to follow. This complexity is compounded because the several states are working on these same issues concurrently but with differing approaches.
In addition to our map, we have a tracker for specific legislation and guidance efforts underway in each state. It can be used to compare various ongoing, completed, or failed state approaches to each other, as well as to our State Digital Currency Principles and Framework, and to the Uniform Law Commission's Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act. We prefer approaches that either match our framework or the substance of the ULC model Act.
Legislative map and regulatory tracker last updated: August 23, 2017