Wyoming Stable Token Act passes without governor’s signature

POWELL — Wyoming still has a chance to be the first state to have an official stablecoin in the cryptocurrency financial sector. 

On Friday, Gov. Mark Gordon allowed the Wyoming Stable Token Act to become law without his signature. He said that after vetoing a similar bill following last year’s legislative session, the sponsors worked to resolve many of his concerns. “Nevertheless, I continue to harbor some reservations about the potential impact this program may have on Wyoming’s hard fought reputation as a thoughtful and strong leader in the world of digital assets,” Gordon said in a letter to Secretary of State Chuck Gray. 

He said he recognized that the success of a Wyoming stable token could be a great achievement that could “nurture Wyoming’s reputation as a leader in the digital asset world.” 

The new legislation will develop a board composed of the governor or the governor’s designee, the state auditor or the auditor’s designee, the treasurer or the treasurer’s designee and not more than four subject matter experts in virtual currency and financial technology appointed by a majority vote of the members of the board. 

Gordon said that less thought was given to the detailed implementation of the program than to the imagined prospects of success. 

“First and foremost, there was no overall plan (a “business plan” for lack of a better term) or, if a plan exists, it did not appear to have been used to guide the legislators in crafting the legislation,” he wrote. “Even more concerning, is that this legislation does not require such a plan before an expensive director is hired.” 

He is also concerned the $500,000 appropriation contained in the bill “may not be enough” to set the plan in action. 

Gordon said it remains unclear whether a robust market exists for Wyoming stablecoin, particularly considering recent developments. 

“Nevertheless, despite these concerns, enough improvements have been made to the legislation that I have decided to allow the Stable Token Act to become law without my signature,” he wrote. 

The token, which has yet to be named, would be backed by 1 for 1 investments in United States treasury bills and held in trust by the state, with hopes of earning interest from the investments. 

The entire cryptocurrency segment is currently worth close to $1.15 trillion, with stable tokens and coins being used to buy and invest in tokens and platforms and serve as a store of value. 

The bill first passed through the state Senate by a 20-11 vote. Sen. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) voted against the bill while Sen. Tim French (R-Powell) voted for the bill. 

It then passed through the House by a 36-25-1 vote before proceeding to the governor’s desk, with Rep. Sandy Newsome (R-Cody) voting for the bill and Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (R-Cody) voting no. 

About 22% of Americans held at least one cryptocurrency asset in 2022, a 5% increase over the previous year. The popularity of digital cryptocurrency has grown in recent years as access to crypto has become easier. 

The asset is still incredibly volatile, and in 2022 rising interest rates caused selloffs in bitcoin, as skittish investors offloaded what is a risky investment. 

In 2022, former President Donald Trump issued a set of non-fungible tokens (blockchain-based tokens that represent a unique asset like a piece of art, digital content, or media often referred to as NFTs). About 45,000 were sold for $99 each and now have a price floor of about $780 each — or about $34 million for the entire collection. 

Stablecoins or tokens are used to buy cryptocurrency assets. Profits from the sale of the Wyoming token would be used to increase funding to the school foundation program account.