Senator Lummis, Governor Gordon Continue to Lead Wyoming’s Rise in Digital Finance

May 5, 2021

United States Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) welcomed today’s news that the Federal Reserve has announced the opening of a comment period for proposed “Account Access Guidelines for the Reserve Banks,” a critical step towards approval of Wyoming-chartered special purpose depository institutions (SPDIs).

SPDIs are custodial banks for digital assets that provide safekeeping and on- and off-ramps to the capital markets. Wyoming’s digital asset framework is the first comprehensive digital asset regulations in the United States and addresses issues like custody, Bank Secrecy Act/sanctions compliance, valuation, capital management and information technology risk.

“Today’s announcement from the Federal Reserve is a major step toward promoting responsible innovation in our banking system,” Senator Lummis said. “The Account Access Guidelines recognize that access to our payment system is a privilege, not a right and that there are basic safety and soundness standards that all banks, including Wyoming’s special purpose depository institutions, must meet. Wyoming has developed the United States’ best regulatory framework for digital assets and others are beginning to recognize this fact too.

“I’m proud of the Federal Reserve for thoughtfully considering Wyoming’s leadership. I look forward to working together with my colleagues on the United States Senate Banking Committee and with the Board of Governors, the Reserve Banks, the FDIC, NCUA, and the OCC to promote responsible innovation in our banking system.”

In a release, the Federal Reserve stated that, “Recent years have seen the introduction of new financial products and delivery mechanisms for traditional banking services, notably leveraging emerging technologies, including from institutions with novel types of banking charters designed to support such innovation. To facilitate these activities, some such institutions have requested access to the payments system offered by Federal Reserve Banks.”

Wyoming has spent the last three years developing expertise in digital assets and the future of finance. In 2019, the Wyoming Legislature passed HB 74 which created special purpose depository institutions as a new custodial bank charter to responsibly integrate digital assets into the U.S. financial system.

Today’s step by the Fed was also welcomed by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.

“Today’s announcement is encouraging news and the culmination of an extended effort where Wyoming took the lead,” Governor Gordon said. “This was an unprecedented task and I appreciate the collaborative work that has occurred throughout the process. I’m committed to ensuring that Wyoming remains a national leader in the digital asset realm.”