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Lawmakers in Hawaii approve bill establishing digital currency task force

Hawaii has become the latest U.S. state to release blockchain and digital assets-focused regulation. Two Hawaii State Senate committees have voted in favor of a bill to institute a state task force to study the industry.  

In a letter co-signed by state Senators Donovan Dela Cruz and Rosalyn “Roz” Baker, the Commerce and Consumer Protection (CPN) and Ways and Means (WAM) committees told the Hawaiian Senate President that they have voted in support of Bill SB2695.

The said bill named “A Bill for an Act Relating to Cryptocurrency,” calls for creating a digital assets task force within the Department of Budget and Finance.

“…as there is vast potential for both the use and regulation of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, it is in the interests of the State and its consumers to determine whether or how to regulate and provide oversight to the cryptocurrency industry,” the letter read.  

The committees also outline the roles that the task force will play. The main aim of the task force is to create a roadmap for the state to “explore the use and regulation of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.” 

The task force will be composed of 11 members, including representatives from the digital currency industry. The group will also be required to submit its report before the commencement of the Senate’s Regular Session of 2024, after which it will be dissolved. 

Multiple U.S. states have pending digital assets regulations

Notably, a similar bill was introduced back in 2021 in which the state Senate called a state-level blockchain working group. The group would operate under the state’s local economic development agency. 

The latest bill is coming after the U.S. federal government signed an executive order to study digital currencies. Albeit, multiple states in the country are at various stages of reviewing digital currency regulations.

According to research conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 37 states are considering regulating the digital assets industry. 

“Thirty-seven states and Puerto Rico have pending legislation regarding cryptocurrency, digital or virtual currencies and other digital assets in the 2022 legislative session,” noted the research. 

These range from amendments to legislation to accommodate and license virtual assets service providers, to new legislation to recognize the specific sectors of the industry like block reward mining. The state of Arizona has even proposed to make Bitcoin legal tender.

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