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State Rep. Mike Shaw on cryptocurrency: ‘My main concern is making sure that Alabama is a blockchain-friendly state’

State Rep. Mike Shaw (R-Hoover) is hoping that cryptocurrency will have a place to thrive in the Yellowhammer State. The lawmaker put forward a bill in the last session that would prohibit the state from restricting the use or storage of digital assets, levying additional taxes on digital assets, restricting digital asset mining, or enacting zoning restrictions or noise restrictions specific to digital asset mining.

Shaw discussed his effort Tuesday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program.”

“We did as much work as we could before I dropped it,” Shaw explained. “And then you know how this goes, you dropped the bill and then everybody’s very interested in it. So we talked with all sorts of different interested parties and started working on a substitute amendment to the bill immediately taking a lot of that input in and just kind of heard a lot of different opinions on it and made it pretty good.”

Shaw said he said he’s hopeful for the bill’s prospects in the 2025 legislative session.

“We made a lot of progress on it and got a hearing on it in the state government committee, so that was good,” he said. “So it moved forward, but I knew was ambitious to get it passed or even on the floor this year. But mainly just to get the framework out there to start the conversation to know what we needed to be working on for the future.”

The lawmaker said those who want to limit the use of cryptocurrencies in the country don’t really understand it.

RELATED: Alabama establishes Blockchain Study Commission

“Well, a lot of people don’t understand blockchain,” he argued. “And a lot of people don’t understand Bitcoin or Ethereum or any of these other cryptocurrencies. And when people don’t understand things, they tend to kind of look at the worst case scenario. And sure any technology can be abused, any technology can be used for nefarious purposes. But I guess what always come back to is you know, cash is used for crime and cash is used for nefarious purposes, but we figure out ways to make that work, and we figure out ways to make the best of that.”

Shaw believes this isn’t just an economic issue, but it’s also about protecting individual liberty.

“So my main concern is making sure that Alabama is a blockchain-friendly state,” he said, “not just a Bitcoin-friendly state, because it can be used for lots of things. So I don’t know what the future is for specific currencies or if it’ll ever be used as Bitcoin will, but we want the state to be friendly to the technology. So whatever happens, we’ll be at the forefront of making that happen. It has a lot of implications for personal liberty, for financial freedom, but also has economic development implications.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on X @Yaffee

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