It took two years of infrastructure building but on Sept. 16 the Wyoming Division of Banking finally landed a prominent pioneer.
That’s when Kraken Financial became the first entity to receive a special purpose depository institution (SPDI) charter in the Cowboy State, giving the cryptocurrency industry insight into roughly how long it takes to become a bank. It’s also the first newly chartered (de novo) bank the state has approved since 2006.
While Kraken Financial still has some hoops to jump through before it has a certificate of authority to operate, Wyoming is running to keep its lead in the digital asset space. And it’s a priority shared by the state’s top elected official, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
The biggest challenge going forward for the state’s lead in the blockchain space will be seeing how the federal government responds to the regulatory scheme the state is creating, Gordon told CoinDesk.
Wyoming’s SPDI charter could still be affected by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) future decisions on national banks safeguarding crypto, and by other decisions Congress makes in response to large projects like Facebook’s Libra.
“We don’t want to wait until an MIT or a Facebook does something,” Gordon told CoinDesk in an interview. “We really have the opportunity here.”
“I’m really thankful that Kraken looked past Los Angeles and really understood that a small state, business-friendly, great tax environment, that was the place to bring new innovation,” Gordon said.
The state and prominent Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Promontory Financial are leveraging current Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council manuals such as the Bank Secrecy Act. That includes guidance for bank examiners on how to question banks that handle digital assets.
“While we knew early on that we had supervisory manuals available from federal…