Hawaii Rolls Out Its Two-Year Regulatory Sandbox; 12 Crypto Businesses and Exchanges Selected


  • A dozen crypto firms will join the Hawaii financial regulatory sandbox that will allow the companies to operate within the state for two years without a money transmitter license.
  • The directive reverses the harsh regulatory conditions placed on crypto firms by the state in 2017.

Hawaii is finally getting in on the cryptocurrency act selecting 12 crypto companies, including ErisX, Robinhood Crypto, bitFlyer USA, and Winklevoss-owned Gemini, as part of its financial regulatory sandbox. The Hawaii regulatory sandbox is a two-year pilot program launched through Digital Currency Innovation Lab, a partnership between the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) and Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (Financial Institutions Division) – DFI.

As per the March 17 sandbox launch announcement, the state is “aiming to achieve a more in-depth perspective of digital currencies” and promote digital currency companies within the state. Every company accepted in the pilot program will have a two-year period to conduct businesses in Hawaii without a money transmitter license.

At the time, Iris Ikeda, Commissioner of Financial Institutions, stated,

“By acknowledging digital currencies as a transmission vehicle of the future, we will be able to craft legislation that is conducive to its development in Hawaii.”

The sandbox is a turn on the exploitive policies set in 2017 by the state to curb crypto companies from conducting unregulated businesses to Hawaiians. The “double reserve requirement,” for instance, stated crypto companies should hold equal fiat and crypto reserves hence setting several crypto exchanges and firms to close shop.

The Full List of Projects Selected:

  • Apex Crypto
  • BitFlyer USA
  • BlockFi
  • CEX.io
  • Cloud Nalu
  • Coinme
  • ErisX
  • Flexa
  • Gemini
  • Novi
  • River Financial
  • Robinhood

Hawaii is finally making forward progress in the digital asset field following the state lawmakers’ bill this January, allowing banks to provide custody services to crypto companies. The launch of the Digital Currency Innovation Lab eases the field for crypto companies with ErisX General Counsel Laurian Cristea, stating this could open up licensing of digital asset service operations in Hawaii.

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