In recent months, Florida legislators have voted to clarify the state’s position on cryptocurrency sales. This new legislation will allow crypto assets to be bought and sold between two parties in Florida without the fear of regulation repercussions. With this vote, Florida will be amongst the most crypto-friendly states within the United States.
House Bill 273 (HB 273) is great news for any business owners looking to get involved in the Bitcoin ATM industry or cryptocurrency and blockchain technology spaces.
How did this new bill come about?
This new bill came about after the Florida Third District Court of Appeals decision in the case Florida v. Espinoza.
In August of 2021, the OFR (Florida Office of Financial Regulation) made that announcement that its legal interpretation of business activity in regards to selling cryptocurrency has changed. The court’s new interpretation suggests that a transaction involving monetary value doesn’t require a third-party to be considered money transmission.
What does this mean for you and why is it important for Bitcoin ATM operators?
Sponsored by Florida Representative Vance Aloupis, House Bill 273 creates a clear and legal distinction between two parties who buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies versus transactions made through a third party or broker. This means customer-to-kiosk cryptocurrency transactions would no longer be considered money transmission.
This is very important for Bitcoin ATM operators who, most of the time, use cryptocurrency that they own to run their business.
What do Money Service Businesses engaging in the sale of virtual currency in Florida need to do to stay compliant?
Money Service Businesses (MSBs) that engage or plan to engage in the selling of virtual currency in Florida are currently required to apply for a Money Transfer License (MTL). MTLs are required to maintain a federal registration as a Money Services Business (MSB) and comply with federal record keeping and reporting requirements.
As of January 1st, 2022, all MSBs, in the state of Florida, are required to have an MTL in order to operate legally. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation has put out a warning that MSBs selling digital currency without a license in the state of Florida may be subjected to fines, penalties, and potentially criminal prosecution.
House Bill 273 is currently waiting for a signature into law from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). Once signed, the effective date for this MTL change will take place on January 1st, 2023.
*This blog article cannot and does not contain legal advice. The information is provided for general informational purposes only which are factually based on research and personal experience. This is not a substitute for professional advice from your own legal counsel. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with your legal counsel. We do not provide any kind of legal advice. The use or reliance of any information contained in this blog is solely at your own risk.