Chris Sununu, who has served as the governor of New Hampshire since 2017, has established a commission aimed at investigating the technology and laws around digital assets in addition to recommending new legislation.
On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Governor’s office announced it would be issuing Executive Order 2022-1 to create the Governor's Commission on Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets. Governor Sununu cited the “rising use and acceptance” of crypto as well as the growth of distributed ledger and blockchain technologies in his decision to establish the commission.
According to the executive order, the crypto commission will have 180 days — until Aug. 8 — to submit a report to officials within the New Hampshire state government consisting of a “review and investigation regarding the current status of the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry” as well as on applicable laws in the United States and abroad. The commission will have the authority to hold public hearings to hear from industry and regulatory experts, and “make findings and determinations regarding the role and effectiveness of current state laws and regulations governing cryptocurrencies and other digital assets” while balancing economic competitiveness, the possible impacts on the financial system, and privacy concerns.
The order states that the commission will consist of “three public members with recognized experience with cryptocurrencies, digital assets and the provision of services to institutions or consumers with respect to digital assets,” the State Attorney General, Commissioner of the Bank Department, a state senator, a state representative, a representative of the New Hampshire Bankers Association, a representative of the Cooperative Credit Union Association and three appointees. The New Hampshire governor also has the authority to designate his own substitutes for most of the commission members.
Governor Sununu cited “well intentioned legislation regarding cryptocurrencies and digital assets” in the order, likely referring to a bill proposing state agencies be allowed to accept crypto for tax payments — the legislation failed in 2020, with many lawmakers invoking the volatility of Bitcoin (BTC). The governor also named Ether (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC) as tokens quickly “gaining momentum.”
“New Hampshire is a hub of financial innovation, and this Executive Order will further our commitment to attracting high quality banking and financial businesses in a safe and responsible manner,” said Governor Sununu.
Possibly due to the lack of a clear regulatory framework at the federal level, lawmakers in U.S. states seem to be stepping up legislative proposals to recognize, invest in or otherwise handle crypto and blockchain. In December, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis offered a budget proposal suggesting local businesses be allowed to “pay state fees via cryptocurrency directly to the Department of State.” Earlier this month, a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives introduced legislation that would establish a study committee on crypto and blockchain.