LARAMIE – A British international technology lawyer advocates that global blockchain, crypto and digital asset companies and startups consider Wyoming for locating their businesses.

Cal Evans, who is CEO and founder of Fortune Wallet, presented his views about why the state should be considered a home for international companies, at the recent Wyoming Blockchain Stampede and Wyohackathon held Sept. 21-26 at the University of Wyoming.

Evans said startups and existing companies involved in cryptocurrency and decentralized finance (DeFi), ask him where they should be based and where they should be doing businesses.

“I’m going to be talking about Wyoming today because it’s pretty damn good,” Evans said.

Evans said he advises startups and existing businesses that there “is no magic glove” or “one size fits all solution.” Companies must look at everything from shareholders to dividends, taxation to management.

“What do crypto companies really want?” Evans asked his session audience. “Having worked with a lot of them, I can safely say they genuinely want a regulatory framework where they don’t have to look over their shoulder.”

He cited a 2019 cryptocurrency survey reported by Crypto Daily, that found most respondents expressed a desire for greater regulatory certainty, with 89% wanting some kind of licensing. {%%note} {/%%note}

Governments around the world have been inconsistent or nonexistent with licensing efforts, Evans said, which has made it difficult for companies to choose a location to operate from. Citing Malta as an example, he said that country was among the first to set up a license framework in 2018.

“They were going to license companies,” Evans said. “They were going to give everybody a home. Let me ask a question. Who knows how many licenses have been issued in Malta today? None. And believe me, I’ve helped companies relocate out of Malta after they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get a license. It’s shocking.”

He cited another example of a new licensing process by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that he helped the agency draft. The process provides a framework for how companies should operate and interact.

“We’re now going through a really problematic situation where the FCA is encouraging companies to withdraw their applications because they don’t meet the criteria, even though, I stress, there is no criteria as to what constitutes a company.”

In addition to confusing or nonexistent regulations, Evans said companies must consider a variety of taxation requirements.

“The reality is, is that the flexibility is not there,” he said of regulations trying to deal with the rapidly changing digital economy.

“We are in one of the most flexible industries that is able to diversify very quickly in its technology sector,” Evans said. “We weren’t talking about NFTs (nonfungible tokens) in any real measure five years ago, (or) four years ago. It’s the only thing people are talking about now.”

So why Wyoming?

“Wyoming is a great choice,” Evans said. “It is flexible, and it has a logical legislature. Let’s be honest, it’s kind of kick a--, right when we look at what other states are doing, when we look at what other countries are doing, they really have a consultative approach.”

Evans said he saw that consultative approach at the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation meeting held during the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede.

“You only have to look at the conversations that were had in the committee to understand just how different they are from other locations,” Evans said.

He called the corporate structure in Wyoming “outstanding” for digital companies.

“The flexibility, the ease of structure, the ease of maintenance and the options that you (in Wyoming) have, surpass every other state in the country,” Evans said.

He said the state has an easy-to-use tax system, banking guidelines and custody laws for crypto business that are “fantastic for companies working in Wyoming and companies that are just domiciled in Wyoming.”

The groundbreaking 2021 Wyoming law establishing the opportunity for companies to be formed as DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) is “amazing.”

“Companies are jumping at it,” Evans said. “It’s the first place that’s ever invented an actual legal entity that people can reference as a DAO and operate as a DAO. It’s recognizable on the international market, regardless of what people think or feel.”

The DAO law has attracted companies globally to domicile in Wyoming, giving the state and the nation a positive international reputation.

As someone who works with crypto and other digital companies worldwide, Evans said Wyoming is simplifying many of the business tasks that are difficult to accomplish in other countries.

“You can show ownership very easily, very effectively, and that helps you on an international market,” he said. “And of course, the best for last – the custody and banking laws that they have created for the crypto industry are outstanding. The stuff that you can do here as a crypto company far surpasses a lot of other places in the world.”

The final thing Evans listed for a company in considering Wyoming isn’t found in a regulation, cryptocurrency or blockchain. It’s the hospitality he finds in the state.

“Let’s be honest, Wyoming is a hell of a place, right?” he said. “It’s awesome. Every time I come here, I feel welcome anytime. Anybody I know that’s ever come here feels welcome. It is a great place to be.”

There are challenges facing Wyoming in the areas of federal tax policy and available workforce, Evans said in a follow-up email interview.

From an international perspective, the only real obstacle for companies looking to relocate to Wyoming is the federal corporate tax.

“Although this is currently at its lowest rate in years, many people notice that the federal government’s willingness to change the rate with almost every administration, causes a large amount of uncertainty,” Evans said. “Especially, when we consider the alarming rate changes – sometimes around 9 percent. On an international stage, that represents an alarming shift.”

Having an available workforce compared to more urban areas, is another challenge in attracting companies, Evans said. From a practical perspective, he said this means that many companies struggle to get “unique” talent, such as developers and coders.

“Yet, it is worth pausing and considering if in a post-COVID remote world, that is really a major obstacle,” Evans said.

Nationally, Evans said there are other examples within the U.S. of states looking to follow Wyoming’s blockchain and crypto framework, particularly with respect to custody laws.

“Internationally, many have looked at Wyoming as a great example of how crypto can be well regulated while maintaining a good level of ‘freedom’,” Evans said. “The most impressive thing with the Wyoming legal framework, on an international stage, is that it strikes a fantastic balance between protection – the purpose of laws – and freedom – the purpose of enterprise. For those reasons, I have seen Wyoming law cited in numerous different countries when they are debating amendments, or developments to their crypto and blockchain laws.”

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