Hawaii ready to expand cryptocurrency pilot

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The State of Hawaii’s Digital Currency Innovation Lab (DCIL) is inviting additional cryptocurrency companies to join its “digital currency sandbox.” The program launched in August 2020 with 11 participants, and the lab is looking to build a second cohort.

The lab was formed through a partnership between the Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) under the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC).

“Despite the pandemic, the DCIL had a strong start and we have experienced positive traction with the first cohort of companies,” said DFI commissioner Iris Ikeda, commissioner. “We are ready to grow our program and welcome established digital currency companies to join us in enabling financial innovation.”

The second cohort will join the 11 companies of the program’s inaugural group: Apex CryptobitFlyer USABlockFi TradingCEX.IOCloud NaluCoinmeErisXFlexa NetworkGemini Trust CompanyNovi Financial, and River Financial.

SEE ALSO: Japanese Bitcoin exchange bitFlyer launches in Hawaii

Newly admitted companies gain the opportunity to conduct business in Hawaii without the need to obtain a state money transmitter license through June 30, 2022. This is made possible with the issuance of a “no action message” by DFI, which will not take any action against these companies during the two-year period of the program.

The companies, however, will still be required to comply with other sections of the money transmitter laws.

“The feedback we obtained from participating companies and consumers regarding the DCIL is encouraging,” said Len Higashi, acting executive director of HTDC. “While the pandemic undoubtedly affected the local development of activities utilizing digital currency that we were initially hoping for, the excitement around its potential in Hawaii has not been dampened.”

Companies interested in joining the second round should apply through the HTDC website by February 26, 2021, 5:00 p.m. (HST).

For more details on the application and DCIL pilot program, visit the HTDC website at www.htdc.org/programs/#dcil-section.

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