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Hawai’i’s digital currency sandbox seeking to expand the playing field

by Thunda

HONOLULU – The State of Hawaii’s Digital Currency Innovation Lab (DCIL) invites new entities within the cryptocurrency space to join the program – the first of its kind in the state. Launched in March 2020, the DCIL was formed through a partnership between the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC). Companies interested in joining the second round should apply through the HTDC website by February 26, 2021, 5:00 p.m. (HST).

“Despite the pandemic, the DCIL had a strong start and we have experienced positive traction with the first cohort of companies. We are ready to grow our program and welcome established digital currency companies to join us in enabling financial innovation”, says Iris Ikeda, commissioner of DFI.

The second cohort will join the 11 companies of the program’s inaugural group from last August. These companies include Apex Crypto, bitFlyer USA, BlockFi Trading, CEX.IO, Cloud Nalu, Coinme, ErisX, Flexa Network, Gemini Trust Company, Novi Financial, and River Financial.

Newly admitted companies gain the opportunity to conduct business in Hawaii without the need to obtain a state money transmitter license through June 30, 2022. This is made possible with the issuance of a “no action message” by DFI, which will not take any action against these companies during the two-year period of the program. The companies, however, will still be required to comply with other sections of the money transmitter laws.

Len Higashi, acting executive director of HTDC shares, “The feedback we obtained from participating companies and consumers regarding the DCIL is encouraging. While the pandemic undoubtedly affected the local development of activities utilizing digital currency that we were initially hoping for, the excitement around its potential in Hawaii has not been dampened.”

For more details on the application and DCIL pilot program, visit the HTDC website at:

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