The North Carolina Senate Commerce Committee has approved bill SB 360, which was previously passed in the state’s House of Representatives by a margin of 117-1.
The bill amends the state’s Money Transmitters Act to include virtual currencies, the approach being taken to regulation in most other jurisdictions, the notable exception being New York State.
The bill adds virtual currency to its definition of money, and defines it as follows:
“A digital representation of value that can be digitally traded and functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value, but only to the extent defined as stored value under G.S. 53-208.42(19), but does not have legal tender status as recognized by the United States Government.”
(Emphasis added to highlight that only one of the three known attributes of money are necessary.)
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The latter clause defines “stored value” as “monetary value representing a claim against the issuer, and accepted as money or monetary value or payment for goods and services.” It excludes stored value redeemable exclusively for goods and services, such as loyalty points or gift cards. This has been a key stipulation in regulatory documents elsewhere.
The approach of amending the Money Transmitters Act to include virtual currency was first raised last year by the North Carolina Commission of Banks (NCCOB).
According to local media, the state banking commissioner’s office believes it already has jurisdiction over virtual currency based on a 2001 law, but wanted to formalize explicit rules nonetheless.
Some Senators were reportedly “perplexed” about a currency not backed by government, while others wanted higher bonds imposed on service providers to protect against default. The bill requires a minimum net worth of $250,000 for applicants and a surety bond of $150,000.
The bill now heads to another Senate panel for consideration.