The southeastern state of Florida in the U.S. is about to get another crypto boost. After Seminole County announced in May that residents could pay certain taxes using cryptocurrency, the Sunshine State’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is taking things to the next level and will create a cryptocurrency chief position tasked to provide industry oversight in the state.
Jimmy Patronis, who serves as the state’s CFO, supervisor of the Department of Financial Services and the State Fire Marshal, ordered the creation of the new position. It will administer the application of existing securities and insurance laws as they pertain to crypto and initial coin offerings (ICO), and will also be responsible for the creation of the cryptocurrency regulatory framework in Florida.
The individual who fills the role will also be in charge of coordinating the work of the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) and the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) as the two develop policies, regulations and legislation. Any entity dealing in crypto or ICOs that wishes to be based in the state will be required to register with the OFR.
Patronis said in his order, “We cannot allow the cryptocurrency industry to expand in Florida unfettered and unchecked with the potential for so many, including our large population of seniors, to be exploited. By taking an active, comprehensive and balanced approach, our state will provide an appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies. It is absolutely essential that Florida create safeguards to protect our consumers from fraud.”
The goal of the new position is to provide greater protection to consumers against scams and fraud in the crypto space. It is also designed to educate the public, providing information so that it can better understand the benefits and risks associated with the industry. The plan is supported by the state’s Senate President-Designate Bill Galvano, who said that Florida “needs to be both on the forefront of emerging trends and ahead of the game when it comes to protecting consumers from those who want to scam our residents.”
The new post is similar to one created by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month. That position was filled by Valerie Szczepanik, a veteran of the agency with over 20 years’ experience. Szczepanik has already helped the SEC make several adjustments in operations related to cryptocurrency and blockchains, and previously led the agency’s Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group. More recently, she was the SEC’s assistant director for the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit.
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