NH Legislators Seek Money Transmission Exemption for Bitcoin Startups


Legislators in New Hampshire have filed a new bill that aims to clarify rules around digital currencies and money transmitters.

HB 436, filed on 12th January, seeks to add a formal definition for “virtual currency” to the state’s laws, as well as create an exception from money transmission requirements for “persons conducting business using transactions conducted in whole or in part in virtual currency”.

The bill would also add a clause to the definition of a digital currency money transmitter, a designation which, if passed, would include “maintaining control of virtual currency on behalf of others”.

That said, the proposal isn’t exactly cut-and-dry. The bill does not specify which kinds of “business” would be covered, potentially leaving a gap within which sellers might fall.

The measure appears to be a response to state regulation, which became official last year, that made it so bitcoin sellers in the state are considered money transmitters, requiring them to be licensed and bonded as a result.

The bill goes on to add a definition for “virtual currency”, which reads:

“‘Virtual currency’ means a digital representation of value that can be digitally traded and functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value but does not have legal tender status as recognized by the United States government.”

The bill is sponsored by Representative Barbara Biggie, with Representative Keith Ammon as co-sponsor. The first hearing on the bill has already been held, a recording of which can be found here. The next hearing, before the New Hampshire House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, is set to take place tomorrow.

Notably, HB 436 isn’t the first time legislators in NH have considered bills related to bitcoin. In 2015, a proposal was put forward to allow residents to pay their tax bills with bitcoin. That measure was later scuttled, but supporters at the time said they planned to re-file the bill.

Image via Shutterstock

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