The 2024 Crypto Legislation Landscape in Florida

As of 2024, the cryptocurrency legislation landscape in Florida has seen significant developments, influenced by a series of legislative actions that have shaped the regulatory environment for digital currencies in the state.

In 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a pivotal piece of legislation, CS/HB 273, which came into effect on January 1, 2023. This law played a crucial role in defining and deregulating cryptocurrency within the state. It amended Florida’s financial regulations, particularly those targeting money service businesses (MSBs), and introduced a new definition for “virtual currency”​​​​.

The definition of virtual currency, as per this legislation, is “a medium of exchange in electronic or digital format that is not currency.” This broad definition, however, explicitly excludes certain types of tokens, such as those used solely within online games or as part of consumer affinity or rewards programs that cannot be converted into or redeemed for currency or another medium of exchange​​.

One of the notable features of CS/HB 273 is its approach to easing MSB licensing requirements. The law specifies that virtual currency transactions that do not involve an intermediary are excluded from these requirements. This relaxation of rules signifies a more favorable environment for individual cryptocurrency traders operating on peer-to-peer platforms. Despite this easing for individuals, major cryptocurrency platforms, like Coinbase or Voyager, are still required to obtain MSB licenses to operate legally in Florida​​​​.

The legislation also adapted the handling of virtual currencies by licensed entities. Under the new regulations, money transmitters are only required to hold virtual currency of the same type and amount owed to the recipient, rather than holding the equivalent value in cash or other assets. Additionally, virtual currency transmitters are mandated to ensure that the virtual currency is available to the designated recipient within 10 business days after receipt and to maintain detailed records of these transactions​​.

Moreover, Senate Bill 750, introduced in 2024, expands the definition of legal tender in Florida to include both specie legal tender and electronic currency. This bill, if passed, would require the Florida Department of Financial Services to establish and administer a bullion depository, setting forth security and insurance requirements for such depositories and establishing protocols for electronic currencies​​.

In summary, as of 2024, Florida’s cryptocurrency legislation is characterized by efforts to streamline and clarify regulations, with a notable emphasis on easing restrictions for individual traders and adapting regulatory requirements for money transmitters dealing in virtual currencies. These developments indicate Florida’s progressive stance towards the cryptocurrency industry, potentially positioning the state as a leading hub for crypto-related businesses and investments in the United States.

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