2022 Bills

Utah Prepares for a Fintech Future

The fintech revolution has taken the world by storm over the last decade. From Bitcoin to the blockchain to NFTs, these innovations have fundamentally altered how we think about investing, contracting, and paying for products and services.

Yet, the laws and regulations that protect consumers and holders of digital assets have lagged behind. In response, Senator Kirk Cullimore sponsored Senate Bill 182, the Digital Assets Amendments, which passed the House and Senate unanimously. When enacted, this bill will recognize digital assets as a property right, allowing regulatory protections to flow from these rights as a result.

In a sense, Senator Cullimore’s bill is a building block for more cohesive fintech regulation. Yet more remains to be done. Now that Utah has taken the first step in recognizing the value of digital assets, the state can leverage the whole spectrum of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies to push Utah forward.

However, the state’s regulatory approach will continue to fall behind without proper insight. The reason states have lagged behind is that few people understand how blockchain technologies work, including legislators across the country, not just in Utah. Fortunately, Representative Jordan Teusher sponsored House Bill 335, the Blockchain and Digital Innovation Task Force, to solve this problem, and it received unanimous support in both chambers. 

The primary objective of this task force is to learn about new and existing blockchain and digital innovations. The task force will consist of up to seventeen members. At a minimum, the task force will include the attorney general, the state treasurer, three members of the Senate, three from the House, and three from either chamber nominated by the Governor’s office. In addition, two members from each of the House, Senate, and Governor’s appointees will have experience in digital innovations or financial technology. The House, Senate, and Governor may also appoint two additional members each if they choose.

After two years of engaging with experts and learning about blockchain and digital innovation, the task force will then report to the full legislature to recommend legislative actions that would put Utah at the helm of financial technology regulation.

Passing both of these bills in a single session is a major win for the state. Digital asset holders will be encouraged to grow their investments, and the blockchain and digital innovation task force will add a body of knowledge to the state legislature. Combining these two legislative victories makes it more likely that Utah will be in the lead by the time innovations like Web3 become the norm.