In brief

  • Nebraska state senator Mike Flood has introduced new legislation to allow some banks to hold cryptocurrencies and obtain state charters.
  • Flood has advocated for crypto in the past, and is taking inspiration from Wyoming.
  • Two crypto banks have already received state charters in Wyoming. One has a national charter.

Nebraska state senator Mike Flood has introduced two new bills focused on cryptocurrency and the banking industry. It's a move that signals growing interest among lawmakers, regulators, and industry leaders in the intersection between crypto and traditional finance.

The first of the two bills, Legislative Bill 648, contains the “Transactions in Digital Assets Act,” which proposes a set of rules for Nebraskan banks looking to hold cryptocurrencies.

The second, Legislative Bill 649, asks legislators to adopt the “Nebraska Financial Innovation Act,” which would allow state charters for digital asset banks—something that’s yet to be explicitly permitted by the Office of the Comptroller for the Currency.

Brian Brooks, the most recent Comptroller for the Currency, said last year that federally chartered banks can offer crypto custody services, though state banks were excluded from the mandate. Crypto companies tend to like Brooks, since he spent much of his tenure attempting to clarify existing regulations, but other lawmakers criticized his fixation on crypto.

Last week, the crypto company Anchorage became the first digital asset bank with a federal charter.

Flood told the Norfolk Daily News that he was inspired by Wyoming’s recent moves to regulate crypto, and hopes the bill will encourage crypto companies to move their headquarters to Nebraska. “We offer real regulation,” he told the Daily News. “They want regulation, they want to come into the sunlight.”

The crypto exchange Kraken has a state charter in Wyoming, and plans to open its digital asset bank later this year. With its Wyoming Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI), Kraken can hold crypto, take deposits, and maintain digital payments systems.

Avanti, another crypto company, has followed in Kraken’s footsteps, and even plans to issue its own currency.