The US recently got its first crypto bank — a safe, regulator-approved place to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies.
The bank is run by a startup called Kraken. But unless you’re big in the crypto world, you might be surprised to learn what city Kraken has chosen as its home: Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Most people know Wyoming for its mountain ranges, but it has quietly become the US’s most crypto-friendly state.
What Delaware is to corporations, Wyoming is to crypto
Most of the credit goes to Tyler Lindholm, a Wyoming state rep who WIRED described as a “longtime cryptocurrency enthusiast.” Lindholm had wanted to retrofit Wyoming for the crypto crowd for a while. But when he proposed legislation in the state legislature, his colleagues laughed it off.
So a few years ago, he had an idea: Wyoming is a huge coal state, but coal profits have lately started to flame out. Crypto, he argued, could replace it as the state’s next big business.
The Cowboy State is going all in on crypto
Over the last 2 years, Wyoming has passed a flurry of pro-crypto laws, including rules that exempt crypto from state property taxes.
Now, dozens of crypto and blockchain startups have registered businesses in the state.
But don’t think crypto enthusiasts are strapping on their cowboy hats yet
For now, most of them operate out of P.O. boxes. Kraken, for instance, has a banking license in Wyoming, but most of its operations are still in San Francisco (though the company says that may soon change).
In general, instead of an influx of crypto money, Wyoming is getting a tiny cut from crypto companies — sometimes as small as the $100 corporate filing fee.