State Senator Josh Harkins (R), chairman of the Mississippi Senate Finance Committee, files three bills that recognize and define the functions of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies within Mississippi. These proposals were released last week as other states were announcing their Bitcoin and cryptocurrency bills.
The Proposed Bills
The SB 2631 bill first defines bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as “Virtual currency” which “means any type of digital representation of value that: (i) is used as a medium of exchange, unit of account or store of value; (ii) is not recognized as legal tender by the United States government.”
The bill goes on to explain that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be exempt from the Mississippi Money Transmitters Act (MMTA) after July 1st 2022. This act requires all industry participants within banking, credit, small loans and other financial services to obtain licenses. This exemption from the MMTA would avoid a future issue where all users would need to obtain licenses in order to participate in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency networks.
Harkin’s SB 2632 bill creates a Digital Asset Act that classifies digital assets as property within the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which is essential for interstate business. Other states also abide by UCC and can have confidence that all agreements will be held under the same standards throughout the United States.
The bill goes on to explain that it will authorize security interests for everyone who chooses to use bitcoin and cryptocurrency. All banks will have the choice to integrate their services and be allowed to custody digital assets for their customers. Standards and procedures for custodial funds are also specified in this act.
Other authorizations in the bill include: clarification on jurisdiction of Mississippi courts, supervision fees, and other information regarding digital asset purposes.
Bill SB 2633 will “create an exemption for open blockchain tokens from securities laws”. This means that a developer or seller of a digital asset like bitcoin or another cryptocurrency will not be subject to the Mississippi Securities Act of 2010. This act regulates the securities industry in Mississippi where issuers are required to register the securities they offer to investors.
These bills will set the necessary framework for individuals and businesses who wish to transact and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.