In 2017, Caitlin Long, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, was just trying to donate some Bitcoin to her alma mater, the University of Wyoming, she says. But the University of Wyoming wasn’t set up to accept Bitcoin donations, and because her Bitcoin had appreciated in value, her donation would go much further if she didn’t need to convert it to cash first.
The problem, Long realized, wasn’t specific to the university—instead, it had to do with the state’s restrictive money transmitter law. By Long’s account, what started as simple attempt to give back to her home state ended with her leading a charge to completely change how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were regulated in Wyoming. That campaign would make the state an oasis for America’s crypto speculators, and, not incidentally, lead Long to start her own Wyoming-based crypto bank, making use of a new type of bank charter, the rules of which she helped to craft.
Although other states may follow suit (Texas is already starting to make moves), Wyoming has pulled out far ahead of the rest of the country in opening the door to new types of cryptocurrencies businesses. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends a lot on