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The final step is a simple stroke of the pen, and California will become one of the first states to require firms associated with cryptocurrencies to seek a special license.
With backing from the Consumer Federation of California, California Assembly member Timothy Grayson introduced AB 2269, the legislation that will create the state's Digital Financial Assets Law.
AB 2269 was approved by the California Senate on Monday, and the Assembly followed suit on Tuesday. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, will now have to sign the bill into law.
According to a press release from Grayson, the proposed law would require licensees to “act in the best interest of a customer when it recommends a cryptocurrency” to protect Californians from “financial hardship and foster responsible innovation by licensing and regulating the activities of cryptocurrency exchanges.”
“While the novelty of cryptocurrencies is part of what makes investing fascinating, it also increases the risk for consumers because cryptocurrency businesses are not sufficiently regulated and do not need to go by many of the same rules that apply to everyone else,” Grayson stated in the release.
According to the Assemblymember’s office, the industry will obtain the required regulatory clarity, and consumers will have established protections by granting licenses to enterprises that deal in digital financial assets under the Department of Financial Innovation and Protection (DFPI).
Grayson claims that the legislation will give consumers fundamental yet essential protections, encouraging a vibrant market by making it safer for everyone.
Robert Herrell, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California, said in a prepared statement that pokes fun at the cringe-worthy Crypto.com Super Bowl commercial starring Matt Damon that “fortune favors the balanced and sensible, not only the so-called “brave.” “The necessity for strong consumer protection shouldn’t be overshadowed by the crypto industry’s hundreds of millions spent on self-promotion.”
The Blockchain Association and other opponents of the measure claimed that it would simply inhibit innovation by enacting ill-advised regulations that were at odds with the governor’s stated goals for California’s cryptocurrency laws.
The Blockchain Association tweeted that the licensing portions of the bill are “intended to impose the same type of onerous licensing and reporting regime that has slowed the growth of the crypto industry and limited access to safe and dependable crypto products and services in New York.”
The likelihood that Newsom will sign the legislation is unknown. The bill, which would go into effect in January 2025, is up for the governor’s approval or veto until September 30.