Industry

Florida Appoints Crypto Czar to ‘Scrutinize’ and Regulate Digital Currency

tim copeland | June 27, 2018 | 2:00 pm
florida
Industry

Florida Appoints Crypto Czar to ‘Scrutinize’ and Regulate Digital Currency

tim copeland | June 27, 2018 | 2:00 pm

The state of Florida will be bringing in a state-specific cryptocurrency czar to closely manage and regulate the technology. This follows the SEC appointing a cryptocurrency chief earlier this month.

Florida Recognizes Crypto Growth

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis issued a statement today saying that he is creating the position of a ‘crypto czar’ in order to provide oversight on cryptocurrencies. In a move that appears to recognize the growing use of crypto payments, he said that Florida should not remain on the sidelines for this new technology. Patronis said:

“I have directed my office to create a position that will oversee how current securities and insurance laws apply to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies as well as shape the future of these regulations in our state.”

Any ICOs and cryptocurrency companies will also be under the supervision of the new crypto czar and will have to register with the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR).  The new role will bring the OFR and the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) in order to make combined regulation and oversight.

The increase in use of cryptocurrencies was also part of the reason for creating the new role. Patronis highlighted the way that companies and even governments are utilizing this new technology. Outside of the state, the Arizona Senate passed a bill in February which will allow citizens to pay their taxes with Bitcoin.

“Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly accepted as forms of payment for many transactions across the state, including by government entities. The Seminole County Tax Collector announced that the office will accept bitcoin as payment for property taxes, identification cards and license plates,” he added.

In light of recent exposed frauds, such as Centra, and the SEC creating a fake ICO to warn investors of risks, Patronis pointed out the dangers of getting scammed. He said that the crypto czar will help protect citizens from scams. Through greater awareness of the issues, local regulators will be able to provide a faster response time to fraudulent behavior. He also stressed that it will not ‘deter innovation’.

“We cannot allow the cryptocurrency industry to expand in Florida unfettered and unchecked with the potential for so many, including our large population of seniors, to be exploited. By taking an active, comprehensive and balanced approach, our state will provide an appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies.”

On June 6, the SEC appointed a crypto chief to advise on issues surrounding blockchain technology. Valerie Szczepanik was named as the associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior adviser for Digital Assets and Innovation. She will make sure that the SEC is clear over how securities law applies to digital currencies and will coordinate efforts across departments.

 

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