Today, bitcoin-based financial institution River Financial announced that it will participate in Hawaii's Digital Currency Innovation Lab, a regulatory sandbox program developed by the state's Division of Financial Institutions and the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation. This will make River one of the first companies in the space to legally serve residents of Hawaii.
“We are extremely excited to be one of the first Bitcoin businesses to legally operate in the great state of Hawaii," Alex Leishman, River Co-Founder & CEO/CTO said in the press release below. "This is a huge regulatory milestone, and we look forward to working with Hawaii going forward to bring Bitcoin financial services to its residents."
For more information, read the press release provided by River below:
River Financial Leads the Way by Bringing Bitcoin to Hawaii
River Financial is one of the first companies in the industry to legally serve residents in Hawaii as part of the State’s new regulatory sandbox program
(San Francisco, CA; August 19th) --- Bitcoin financial institution River Financial will be one of the first companies in the industry to legally operate in the state of Hawaii. In partnership with the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions (“DFI”), the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (“HTDC”) has organized a regulatory sandbox program, the Digital Currency Innovation Lab (“DCIL”), to position the state at the forefront of innovation around digital assets.
River Co-Founder & COO Andrew Benson expressed, “We are incredibly excited to bring the best of Bitcoin to the residents of Hawaii, many of whom have long awaited this day. This program was made possible by the forward-thinking leadership of Iris Ikeda, the Hawaii Commissioner of Financial Institutions, and her department’s commitment to foster innovation within the state. I look forward to working with the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions and believe that River Financial’s participation in the Digital Currency Innovation Lab regulatory sandbox program will play a crucial role in shaping the State’s long-term regulatory framework.”
The DCIL sandbox program will last slightly over 2 years and will provide the state’s regulators and legislators with a stronger understanding of digital asset regulation in order to craft a long-term regulatory framework for the state. Throughout the program, the DFI will have regulatory oversight of River Financial which will include quarterly reporting, among other requirements. As part of the program, River Financial does not hold a license from the State of Hawaii but rather the State issues a no-action letter to River Financial. The application process for this program involved a substantive review of River’s operations including the business model, anti-money laundering controls, financial reporting practices, and other risk management controls.
The State of Hawaii has an extensive history with Bitcoin, digital assets, and cryptocurrencies. Up until 2016, residents could buy Bitcoin in Hawaii. However, in September of 2016 Hawaii lawmakers passed legislation mandating that exchanges hold cash reserves to fully collateralize any digital assets under custody. For example, if a Hawaii resident owned $10,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC), the exchange would need to hold $10,000 of cash for the customer as well. Since the 2016 mandate, no regulated brokerage or exchange has served residents of Hawaii, making River Financial one of the first regulated financial institutions to legally operate in the state.
River Co-Founder & CEO/CTO Alex Leishman said, “We are extremely excited to be one of the first Bitcoin businesses to legally operate in the great state of Hawaii. This is a huge regulatory milestone, and we look forward to working with Hawaii going forward to bring Bitcoin financial services to its residents. We have had many Hawaii residents interested in joining River over the last year, and we are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to serve these clients.”
Hawaii residents can sign up and buy Bitcoin today at River.com.
For media inquiries, please contact media[at]river[dot]com.
About River Financial
River Financial is a challenger financial institution specializing in Bitcoin financial services. River Financial's flagship product, a Bitcoin brokerage, provides sophisticated retail investors with a high-touch platform to buy and sell Bitcoin. Founded in early 2019 by cousins Alexander Leishman and Andrew Benson, River's brokerage product provides its clients with best-in-class security, a world-class client service experience, and investment performance tools such as cost basis tracking.
To learn more, please visit River.com or follow us on Twitter @RiverFinancial.