Wyoming and the World’s First Digital Asset Charter

by John Murray
Research Director

On September 16, 2020, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken Inc. announced that the State of Wyoming has approved its application to form the world’s first digital assets bank charter. The new company, tentatively called Kraken Financial, will be the first regulated US institution that is allowed to provide banking services for digital assets.

Kraken is taking advantage of Wyoming’s innovative approach to regulation of digital assets custody and management. The new company will enable US clients of Kraken to bank seamlessly between digital assets and national currencies.

The approval follows quickly upon Kraken’s announcement to re-enter the Japanese market for digital assets management. It had previously left that business space in 2018, in order to concentrate on other rapidly-expanding market opportunities. Kraken has also expanded into Australia with the acquisition of BitTrade and the launch of funding and trading in Australian Dollars.

A series of innovative laws passed by the state of Wyoming in recent years has enabled the state to be well-positioned as a potential hub for blockchain-centric businesses. In addition, Wyoming’s Division of Banking, which is responsible for chartering and supervision of state banks, has issued a contract to Chainalysis to provide services to help combat money laundering, sanctions violations, and other criminal activities that use digital assets.

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Bibliography:

DiCamillo, Nathan. “Kraken Becomes First Crypto Exchange to Charter a US Bank.” Coin Desk, 16 Sept. 2020, www.coindesk.com/kraken-crypto-exchange-secures-bank-charter-under-wyoming-law.

“Investment Summary: Kraken.” Crunchbase.com, 20 Sept. 2020, www.crunchbase.com/organization/kraken/investor_summary/overview_timeline.