HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – State lawmakers will discuss a bill that aims to establish a program for the regulation and licensing of digital currency companies Tuesday morning.
State officials say Hawaii is one of the hardest states to trade cryptocurrency.
A group of them is trying to make Hawaii more crypto-friendly. State Sen. Bennette Misalucha is one of them.
“If you look at the worst cryptocurrency environment, one of which would be Hawaii,” Misalucha said. “For instance, there is a rule that says for every dollar that’s invested, you have to have reserves. And so for many companies, they may not want to bother with Hawaii, right? Because it’s a small market.”
Her office said the banking industry doesn’t regulate the trade of certain types of cryptocurrency, making it hard for residents to invest.
Tech expert Ryan Ozawa says there have been many failed attempts to adjust laws.
“We interpreted existing laws in such a way that companies that allow you to exchange American dollars or U.S. dollars to crypto cannot operate in the state or at least choose not to operate in the state,” Ozawa said.
He is the community engagement specialist for the state Digital Currency Innovation Lab.
They have been running a pilot program allowing a handful of cryptocurrency companies to operate in the state.
“We’ve seen during this pilot, over 60 to 70,000 Hawaii residents participate over a billion dollars in transactions,” Ozawa said. “So clearly, this is not a fringe thing. It’s not just your geeky neighbor’s basement that’s doing this.”
But at the moment, there are some financial experts that think the average person shouldn’t venture into the world of cryptocurrency.
“The stability that typically people need in a currency like the dollar or the yen, or the euro, just isn’t there in cryptocurrency,” said Kaleialoha Cadhina-Puaa. “The volatility is just too great. So I’m not recommending it yet. It needs to get a little bit more widely adopted.”
But many hope that day comes.
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