More than a month ago, the New Hampshire legislature passed House Bill 436 and sent it to Governor Chris Sununu for his signature. The Governor signed the bill into law late last week, effectively ensuring that those who use cryptocurrency in New Hampshire will no longer be subject to the state’s money transmitter regulations. That exemption will become effective on August 1, 2017.
The new law represents a dramatic shift in the state government’s approach to managing cryptocurrency regulation. In 2015, New Hampshire passed HB666, which contained language designed to bring digital currencies under the purview of the state’s laws governing money transmitters. That move understandably alarmed many digital currency fans, and eventually led to months of debate as exemption advocates fought to change that law.
That debate saw legislators sharply divided over how to approach Bitcoin regulation. Public hearings were contentious, with many government officials arguing against any proposal to provide an exemption for cryptocurrencies. And while the final votes in the House and Senate netted a victory for exemption proponents, the margins were extremely tight. The House vote saw a 180-170 split, while the Senate narrowly passed the bill 13-10.
Governor Sununu’s signature has ensured that the cryptocurrency community can now avoid that burdensome regulation. According to most estimates, New Hampshire continues to lead all other states in the U.S. when it comes to per-capita use of Bitcoin. This law should help to further cement the state’s reputation as a cryptocurrency-friendly environment.