Washington lawmakers have so far failed to pass any meaningful legislation to regulate the US crypto sector. With Congress seemingly unable to make any progress on the issue, the task has fallen on individual states. In recent years, they have taken the lead in shaping American crypto policy.
On January 5, the Blockchain Basics Act was introduced to the state legislature of Nebraska. This would, if passed, legally enshrine the right to hold, mine and transact with cryptocurrency. Sponsored by crypto advocacy group Satoshi Action Fund, it is part of a nationwide movement to protect American crypto rights.
Following the introduction of a similar bill in Missouri, the Blockchain Basics Act is designed to safeguard Nebraskans’ ability to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from federal interference.
Specifically, it would guarantee people’s right to self-custody of their crypto assets, putting it at odds with Congressional attempts to curb the use of self-custody wallets. The bill also includes a “right to mine” Bitcoin alongside provisions designed to bar regulations that could discriminate against mining.
Finally, it proposes removing state capital gains taxes on Bitcoin transactions under $200.
Satoshi Action Fund CEO Dennis Porter said the group planned to introduce similar bills in at least 13 other states before the end of 2022. The group has already successfully lobbied for bills that protect the right to mine bitcoin in Arkansas and Montana. Those laws came in last year.
Porter compared current wave pro-Bitcoin legislation to the way states went against the grain of federal drug prohibition to legalize cannabis.
He said: “The cannabis industry didn’t win over the Feds.
“They fought in the states and cannabis is now legal in 75% of the USA.”
However, there is still a long way to go if crypto policy wants to galvanize the American public in the same way.
As things stand, fears that federal agencies are overstepping their authority are mostly a concern for Republican voters. But then again, cannabis reform was once a fringe issue that only resonated in liberal enclaves on the West Coast, yet it has since been embraced by otherwise conservative red states.