26 October 2020 - Article
This article was initially published by the Associate Press and New York Times on May 23, 2018.
Block Chain Gang LLC, Crypto Cowboy, Something Something Blockchain LLC: Based on the names of dozens of new companies registering to set up shop in Wyoming, the state’s effort to lure the latest tech craze appears to be paying off.
Proponents say blockchain — the ledger where transactions of digital currencies, like bitcoin, are recorded — could be the kick in the pants Wyoming needs to attract tech businesses and diversify its economy beyond fossil fuels.
As for how many of these new businesses will get off the ground in Wyoming or anywhere else, time will tell. So far, only a small fraction of them exist as more than electronic paperwork.
Wyoming is willing to find out. In March, Gov. Matt Mead signed four blockchain-friendly bills that arguably make the least-populated state friendlier to the technology than any other.
One new law exempts certain types of blockchain tokens, or cryptocurrencies issued to people who invest in tech startups, from state securities laws.
Another allows businesses incorporated in Wyoming to use blockchain for record-keeping, promising easier and more accurate files on transactions and shareholders. The other two facilitate cryptocurrency trading and exempt cryptocurrency from property tax — a measure more symbolic than anything because Wyoming doesn’t have property taxes.