Assembly Panel Advances Lopez ‘Digital Asset and Blockchain Technology Act’

(TRENTON) – Building the regulatory framework for the growing cryptocurrency industry in New Jersey, legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Yvonne Lopez creating the “Digital Asset and Blockchain Technology Act” was approved by the Science, Innovation Technology Committee on Monday.

The measure aims to provide transparency, consumer protections, and a licensing structure for both operators and consumers engaging in virtual currency transactions in New Jersey.

“The growth of the cryptocurrency industry is undeniable,” said Assemblywoman Lopez (D-Middlesex). “For example, bitcoin has had a banner year becoming legal tender in El Salvador, the 13th largest currency in the world with a global market cap of approximately $600 billion U.S. dollars. However, in the same vein, the value of bitcoin fluctuated 19 times in 2021 reaching a high of $50,000 with a low of $5,000. While cryptocurrency has utility there is still a great deal of risk for consumers and with over 18,000 cryptocurrencies in the market today, consumers need to know the risks involved in investing and entering the market.”

“A-2371 is the product of over 4 years of discussions with the industry to provide consumers with adequate protection while allowing the cryptocurrency businesses that call New Jersey home to thrive and innovate. I am excited to see the bill released from the Assembly Science Technology and Innovation committee today and look forward to its continued movement in the Legislature. New Jersey is a hub of innovation and, with this bill, we can lead the nation in providing thoughtful regulation to the industry.”

Under the bill, individuals would be required to obtain a license (or a pending license) with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) before engaging in a digital asset business activity with or on behalf of a resident.

The measure also would require individuals to submit a licensure application through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, including information relevant to the applicant’s proposed digital asset business activity. An individual who has been convicted of embezzlement, forgery, fraud, or theft within the past five years would be prohibited from being issued a license.

Licensees would be required to submit a renewal report, through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, that contains an update of all information required at initial licensing and a description of certain information described in the bill.

The bill will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.