Iowa Cryptocurrency Laws

Relevant Statute

Uniform Money Services Act,
533C.102

“Money” Definition

“Money” means a medium of exchange authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government as a part of its currency and that is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more governments.
533C.102

“Money Transmitter” Definition

“Money transmission” means any of the following: a. Selling payment instruments to one or more persons or issuing payment instruments which are sold to one or more persons. b. Conducting the business of receiving money or monetary value for transmission. c. Conducting the business of receiving money for obligors for the purpose of paying obligors’ bills, invoices, or accounts.
533C.102

Additional Definitions

“Monetary value” means a medium of exchange, whether or not redeemable in money.

“Money services” means money transmission or currency exchange.

“Payment instrument” means a check, draft, money order, traveler’s check, stored-value, or other instrument or order for the transmission or payment of money or monetary value, sold to one or more persons, whether or not that instrument or order is negotiable. “Payment instrument” does not include an instrument that is redeemable by the issuer or an affiliate in merchandise or service, a credit card voucher, or a letter of credit.
533C.102

Exemptions

This chapter does not apply to:
1. The United States or a department, agency, or instrumentality thereof.
2. A money transmission by the United States postal service or by a contractor on behalf of the United States postal service.
3. A state, county, city, or any other governmental agency or governmental subdivision of a state.
4. The following entities whether chartered or organized under the laws of a state or of the United States: a bank, bank holding company, savings and loan association, savings bank, credit union, office of an international banking corporation, branch of a foreign bank, corporation organized pursuant to the federal Bank Service Company Act, 12 U.S.C. §1861 – 1867, or corporation organized under the federal Edge Act, 12 U.S.C. §611 – 633.
5. Electronic funds transfer of governmental benefits for a federal, state, county, or governmental agency by a contractor on behalf of the United States or a department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, or a state or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof.
6. A board of trade designated as a contract market under the federal Commodity Exchange Act, 7 U.S.C. §1 – 25, or a person that, in the ordinary course of business, provides clearance and settlement services for a board of trade to the extent of its operation as or for such a board.
7. A registered futures commission merchant under the federal commodities laws to the extent of its operation as such a merchant.
8. A person that provides clearance or settlement services pursuant to a registration as a clearing agency or an exemption from such registration granted under the federal securities laws to the extent of its operation as such a provider.
9. An operator of a payment system to the extent that it provides processing, clearing, or settlement services, between or among persons excluded by this section, in connection with wire transfers, credit card transactions, debit card transactions, stored-value transactions, automated clearing house transfers, or similar funds transfers.
10. A person registered as a securities broker-dealer under federal or state securities laws to the extent of its operation as such a broker-dealer.
11. A delayed deposit services business as defined in chapter 533D.
12. A real estate broker or salesperson as defined in chapter 543B.
13. Pari-mutuel wagering, racetracks, excursion gambling boats, and gambling structures as provided in chapters 99D and 99F.
14. A person engaging in the business of debt management that is licensed or exempt from licensing pursuant to section 533A.2.
15. An insurance company organized under chapter 508, 514, 514B, 515, 518, 518A, or 520, or authorized to do the business of insurance in Iowa to the extent of its operation as an insurance company.
16. An insurance producer as defined in section 522B.1 to the extent of its operation as an insurance producer
533C.202

Registration Fees

$500 License/Registration Fee
$1,000 Application Fee

Bond and Insurance Requirements

1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, a surety bond, letter of credit, or other similar security acceptable to the superintendent in the amount of fifty thousand dollars plus ten thousand dollars per location, not exceeding a total addition of three hundred thousand dollars, must accompany an application for a license. If the licensee has no locations in this state, the superintendent shall set the bond amount not to exceed three hundred thousand dollars.
2. Security must be in a form satisfactory to the superintendent and payable to the state for the benefit of any claimant against the licensee to secure the faithful performance of the obligations of the licensee with respect to money transmission.
3. The aggregate liability on a surety bond shall not exceed the principal sum of the bond. A claimant against a licensee may maintain an action on the bond, or the superintendent may maintain an action on behalf of the claimant.
533C.203

Bond Alternatives and Additional Insurance Requirements

5. In lieu of the security prescribed in this section, an applicant for a license or a licensee may provide security in a form prescribed by the superintendent.
6. The superintendent may increase the amount of security required to a maximum of one million dollars if the financial condition of a licensee so requires, as evidenced by reduction of net worth, financial losses, or other relevant criteria.
533C.203

Capital Requirements

A licensee under this article shall maintain a net worth of at least one hundred thousand dollars plus ten thousand dollars per authorized delegate not to exceed five hundred thousand dollars determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. If the licensee has no locations in this state at which business is conducted through authorized delegates or employees of the licensee, the minimum net worth, not to exceed five hundred thousand dollars, shall be set by the superintendent.
533C.206

Money Transmission License Required for Crypto Exchange?

yes

State Comments or Statements

The money transmission definition includes the concept of monetary value, which is defined as a “medium of exchange, whether or not redeemable in money”.