The Cryptocurrency Legislative Landscape in Oregon Before 2023

Prior to 2023, Oregon had a unique approach to cryptocurrency regulation, shaped by a combination of legislative action and administrative interpretation. The state’s Money Transmitter Act, while not explicitly including “virtual currencies” or “monetary value,” was interpreted by the State to include virtual currencies such as Bitcoin under its definition of money​​.

In 2019, Oregon’s legislative body introduced several bills related to blockchain and cryptocurrency. The Oregon House proposed H.B. 2487, intending to study and make recommendations on the use of blockchain technology by state agencies for public services​​. Another bill, H.B. 2179, aimed to establish a task force on blockchain applications and legislation​​. The Senate also contributed with a bill that established “The Task Force on Protecting Health Information,” focusing on technology industry representation, including expertise in blockchain technology​​.

In 2021, the Oregon House introduced bill 2696, which had significant implications for the handling of cash and valuable property, potentially affecting the handling of cryptocurrencies. This bill aimed to establish the Oregon Cash Depository Corporation, an independent public corporation, and included provisions for handling and auditing the corporation’s funds​​.

The Oregon Department of Human Services adopted a regulation in 2018 to set a policy on how virtual currency would be treated in determining eligibility for APD medical and self-sufficiency programs, signifying the state’s acknowledgment of cryptocurrency’s growing relevance​​.

Moreover, Oregon adopted H.B. 2488, prohibiting the state government from accepting payments using cryptocurrency and candidates running for public office from accepting campaign contributions made using cryptocurrency, unless authorized by the state treasurer​​.

In terms of licensing, Oregon defined “money” in its money transmitter laws as a medium of exchange that represents a value substituting for currency, under which digital currency exchanges were licensed as money transmitters​​.

Overall, Oregon’s approach to cryptocurrency legislation before 2023 reflected a cautious and exploratory stance, with efforts focused on understanding the technology, its applications, and its implications for various sectors of governance and public service. The state’s approach, characterized by studies, task forces, and specific regulatory measures, indicates a careful integration of this evolving technology into the existing legislative and regulatory framework.

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