Chris Sununu, who has served as New Hampshire’s governor since 2017, has created a commission to investigate technology and digital asset laws in addition to recommending new legislation.
On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Governor’s Office announced that it would issue Executive Order 2022-1 to create the Governor’s Commission on Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets. Governor Sununu cited the “growing use and acceptance” of cryptography as well as the growth of distributed ledger and blockchain technologies in his decision to establish the commission.
According to the executive order, the Cryptography Commission will have 180 days — until August 8 — to submit a report to New Hampshire state government officials consisting of a “review and investigation into the current state of the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry”. as well as applicable laws in the United States and abroad. The commission will have the power to hold public hearings to hear from industry and regulatory experts, and “make findings and decisions regarding the role and effectiveness of current state laws and regulations governing crypto “currencies and other digital assets” while balancing economic competitiveness, possible impacts on the financial system, and privacy concerns.
The order states that the commission will be made up of “three public members with proven experience in cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and providing services to institutions or consumers with respect to digital assets,” the Attorney General of the State, Commissioner of the Banking Department, a State Senator, a State Representative, a representative from the New Hampshire Bankers Association, a representative from the Cooperative Credit Union Association and three appointees. The Governor of New Hampshire also has the power to designate his own replacements for most commission members.
Governor Sununu cited “well-intentioned legislation regarding cryptocurrencies and digital assets” in the order, likely referring to a bill proposing state agencies to be authorized to accept crypto for payments taxes – the legislation failed in 2020, with many lawmakers citing the volatility of Bitcoin (BTC). The governor also named Ether (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC) as “rapidly gaining momentum” tokens.
“New Hampshire is a hub for financial innovation, and this executive order will reinforce our commitment to attracting high-quality banking and financial businesses in a safe and responsible manner,” Governor Sununu said.
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Perhaps due to the lack of a clear regulatory framework at the federal level, US state lawmakers appear to be stepping up legislative proposals to recognize, invest in, or otherwise manage crypto and blockchain. In December, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis offered a budget proposal suggesting that local businesses be allowed to “pay state fees via cryptocurrency directly to the Department of State.” Earlier this month, a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives introduced legislation that would create a crypto and blockchain study committee.