Louisiana Proposes Administrative Rules for Virtual Currency Businesses

By Jeremy M. McLaughlin and Christian A. Zazzali

The Louisiana Office for Financial Institutions (“OFI”) has proposed administrative rules governing the licensing process for virtual currency businesses. Louisiana’s Virtual Currency Business Act (the “Act”) became effective in August 2020 and granted OFI broad supervisory and enforcement powers.  The Act also required OFI to promulgate rules regarding licensing.  Roughly two years later, OFI has done so. Those wishing to submit written comments on the proposed rules may do so through 5:00 pm on July 10, 2022.  It’s expected the rules will be adopted later this year.

Broadly, the rules cover the registration, regulation, and maintenance of licensure for businesses subject to the Act. This includes fees for registration, duties of virtual currency businesses to allow the OFI to effectively supervise, examination and reporting protocols, and penalties for violations.  The proposed rules also provide some helpful definitions to undefined terms in the Act, as well as expanding the definitions of some terms. Licensing and renewals will be handled through the National Mortgage Licensing System (“NMLS”), which is a welcome feature for those already familiar with the system.

For businesses looking to register under the Act, fees are at least $5,750 ($5,000 application fee + $750 registration fee), while those already licensed must pay at least $4,500 ($4,000 application fee + $500 registration fee) to renew the license.

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