Free State Says Bitcoin Prohibition Headlines Were ‘Misleading’

Last week an article detailing a recently proposed New Hampshire policy regarding money transmissions got some compelling headlines. DinBits: “Bitcoin Sales Now Prohibited In the State of New Hampshire“ caused alarm among the community with its title explaining the bill as a ban. People who have known the Free State to be an enclave of libertarianism ask: how could this be?

Also read: Central Bank of Kenya: ‘The Public Should Desist from Transacting in Bitcoin’

Free State Project
Screenshot of DinBits Feature Image

Those residing in the Free State say that prohibition of Bitcoin sales are not even close to being banned and the headlines reported were quite misleading. So does Emelia Galdieri, legal counsel to the state banking authority who says the report is definitely inaccurate. Galdieri tells the Union Leader, “The notice just explains, as we always have, that we consider virtual currency to be treated the same as cash. So if Western Union were to take bitcoin from one person and give it to another, that would be money transmission. We are not concerned if you personally want to have a Bitcoin and use it to pay for something. We are not worried about that transaction at all.”

Free State ProjectFree Staters from the FreeKeene.com blog also believe the headline was a bit clickbait-ish. They say this is not a bill they would support, but they explain it’s not at all what DinBits had published. The blog details, “There’s no doubt that HB 666 (yes, 666) is not a good bill. However, it did not prohibit the sales of bitcoin, as the headlines have claimed. What it actually does is adds a definition of “convertible virtual currency” to the “money transmitter” statutes.” They say Bitcoin is alive and well within the state of New Hampshire. The FreeKeene folk will tell you they still have laws in the state just not as many as most. They still recommend people to move to the region saying:

“This is not a free place yet – it’s just better off than others and a good starting point for a freedom movement.” — FreeKeene.com blog

Free State ProjectOn December 9th, the publication DinBits explained the title was in fact misleading, but that they couldn’t change the title; they attempted to compensate by putting an alternate inside the article. The disclaimer reads, “it [the title] would have been changed if it were allowed.” And it continues,For clarity in regards to the title of the article published Monday, December 7th, 2016, the words “sales prohibited” present in the title means that unlicensed sales of bitcoin prohibited, and the definition of unlicensed sales is selling a bitcoin to another resident or legal entity in the State of New Hampshire as defined by the amendment to 399-G:1 going into effect January 1st, 2016.”

Cryptocurrency community members accused the publication right away on reddit forums for publishing misleading information. The headline was addressed two days later by the editor but already went through 1k in likes on Facebook and quite a bit of shares throughout the 48 hours.

Like a game of telephone after this story, many other follow-ups came from an array of publications. Most all of them, minus a few copy cats, figured out that the headline was a crock and studied the bill just a touch closer. Others like the Union Leader followed up with officials who were happy to discuss the meaning of the bill and were surprised people implied it was prohibited. The reason for the “definition” Galdieri tells the website is because two Bitcoin services CoinX and Coinbase were working to receive a transmitter license in New Hampshire. FreeKeene.com and many others believe calling Bitcoin prohibited in New Hampshire is quite the falsification and are encouraging people to visit the states local bitcoin vending machine.  

Do you think they should have changed the title? Let us know in the comments below!


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