COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two bills have been filed in the South Carolina Legislature that would define the use of digital currencies in the emerging blockchain industry that supporters said will stimulate economic development by recognizing the individual right to use digital assets.
Rep Alan Clemmons, R-Horry, filed the S.C. Blockchain Industry Empowerment Act of 2019. The first-of-its-kind legislation was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. On the heels of that legislation, Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, filed a companion bill in the state Senate. Co-sponsors of the omnibus bill are Reps. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, and Kambrell Garvin, D-Richland.
The bill also includes the Financial Technology Sandbox Act, stating, “The State of South Carolina currently offers one of the best business environments in the United States for blockchain and financial technology innovators, and should offer a regulatory sandbox for these innovators to develop the next generation of financial technology products and services in this State.”
In late January, Dennis Fassuliotis, executive director of Palmettochain, Inc., and others called for blockchain legislation in South Carolina. That led Clemmons to introduce a bill that would allow Bitcoin to be used to make political contributions. The bill follows Federal Election Commission guidelines for the acceptance of virtual currencies, Fassuliotis said. “We felt like if we could just get the members attention by building on the House Ethics Committee Opinion last year about campaign contributions and Bitcoin we could fast track the process.” Due to regulatory uncertainty at the federal level, he said, other States have already passed legislation to attract economic investment from this technology sector.
The South Carolina Blockchain Empowerment Act begins a new chapter in Palmettochain’s efforts to promote economic development in South Carolina. “The worldwide market cap for blockchain companies, today, is hovering around $180 Billion and surged to just over $800 Billion in January 2018. After that surge, regulators began to take note and ‘cryptowinter’ set in. There has been a huge shake out in the industry and more may come, but overall worldwide, the industry is building and poised for continued growth. The states have taken centerstage in efforts to define a regulatory framework for the industry, most notably with the enactment of 13 bills in the last two years in Wyoming. They said we couldn’t catch up, but we are here to say we can and will, the future economy is in this technology and South Carolina will not be left behind.” As the financial industry catches up to the technology, Fassuliotis predicts the industry could easily go into the trillions over the next two – five years.
“Rep. Clemmons has led the charge in the House and Senator Davis has followed on with a Senate bill. Hallmark of the bill is its provisions for a Financial Technology (Fintech) Sandbox for the testing of financial products and services in South Carolina. The sooner it’s enacted the better. Once it is, we will be one of just a handful of states that will be able to provide oversight and foster innovation. With this bold move by Rep Clemmons, his cosponsors and Senator Davis have moved South Carolina from the bottom of the heap in this economic development race to, in my opinion, the top five states in the country poised to welcome this new technology and all it has to offer,” said Fassuliotis
“As the founder and largest shareholder in a company with an office in Greenville that will do more than $300 million in revenues in its first two years of a 2017 product launch, I would love to have an excuse to do more business in South Carolina,” said Joe Taussig, CEO of Taussig Capital. “Had the South Carolina legislature passed its blockchain legislation last year, we would have likely chosen the Palmetto state in February for a business that should generate more than $1 billion in funding within two years rather than Wyoming where we have no experience, but Wyoming has gained a first mover advantage by passing 13 pieces of legislation ahead of anyone else. There will be many more opportunities for South Carolina if it can get the proposed legislation through sooner than later, but even a six months’ delay will significantly reduce the levels of commerce, employment, and taxes as other states join the party and siphon off opportunities.”
Palmettochain Inc’s, internal estimates project the state stands to garner “a nine figure” revenue stream over the next five years from new sources if they embraced the technology. “We have a full economic agenda for leadership. While we are working diligently through the Legislature, and connecting with leadership at many levels, we are just waiting on a phone call from the Governor,” Fassuliotis said with a smile. ###
For more information:
Dr. Gordon Jones
Chairman & Co-Founder
Executive Director & Co-Founder