Hawaii Lawmakers Submit a Bill to Allow Banks to Provide Custody for Digital Assets
Hawaiian lawmakers have submitted a bill SB2594 on Jan. 18 that would make it legal for the banks to provide custody for digital assets.
As per this bill, Hawaiin banks will be allowed to hold “Digital asset,” “Digital consumer assets,” “Digital security,” “Virtual currency,” and any other “open blockchain token” for their customers.
Banks can serve as a qualified custodian as per the US Securities and Exchange Commission and may provide custodial service upon providing sixty days written notice to the commissioner.
The application would be approved if the Commissioner is satisfied that the “proposed trust business” won’t jeopardize the safety and soundness of the bank.
They would also be required to pay as little as $1 annual fee and hire an independent accountant to examine their books, records, and accounts that they are required to maintain separately from their banking business.
They would also have to maintain the same amount of capital and surplus as required by a Trust company.
Moreover, the banks will maintain control over the digital assets in custody while the customers will have to be pursuant to a written agreement with the bank regarding the “source code version” that the bank will use for each digital asset and their treatment.
Sponsored by State Senators Sharon Moriwaki (D-12), Gil Riviere (D-23), Kurt Fevella (R-19), Les Ihara (D-10), and Stanley Chang (D-9), this bill is a positive change from the US banks that have scorned Bitcoin and other digital assets.
The effort might not end the “double reserve” problem with Coinbase mentioned in the letter to the officials specified that then laws forced the crypto exchange to cease its operations in Hawaii in early 2017. The Hawaii Act required virtual currency operators to keep cash stockpiles in equivalent dollar value to their virtual currency reserves held on behalf of their customers.
This, however, would give Hawaiin banks some legal clarity while clearing the way to offer digital currencies.