Maryland Cryptocurrency Laws

Relevant Statute

Md. FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS Code Ann. § 12-401

“Money Transmitter” Definition

(1) “Money transmission” means the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value devices, or receiving money or monetary value, for transmission to a location within or outside the United States by any means, including electronically or through the Internet.
(2) “Money transmission” includes:
(i) A bill payer service;
(ii) An accelerated mortgage payment service; and
(iii) Any informal money transfer system engaged in as a business for, or network of persons who engage as a business in, facilitating the transfer of money outside the conventional financial institutions system to a location within or outside the United States.
12-401

Additional Definitions

Payment instrument. —
(1) “Payment instrument” means any electronic or written check, draft, money order, traveler’s check, or other electronic or written instrument or order for the transmission or payment of money, sold or issued to one or more persons, whether or not the instrument is negotiable.
(2) “Payment instrument” does not include any credit card voucher, letter of credit, or tangible object redeemable by the issuer in goods or services.

Stored value device. —
(1) “Stored value device” means a card or other tangible object used for the transmission or payment of money:
(i) That contains a microprocessor chip, magnetic stripe, or other means for the storage of information;
(ii) That is prefunded; and
(iii) The value of which is reduced after each use.
(2) “Stored value device” does not include any tangible object the value of which is redeemable only in the issuer’s goods or services.

Monetary value. — “Monetary value” means a medium of exchange whether or not redeemable in money.
12-401

Exemptions

(a) In general. — The provisions of this subtitle do not apply to:
(1) Any banking institution;
(2) Any other-state bank;
(3) Any national banking association or savings bank;
(4) Any credit union;
(5) Any savings and loan association;
(6) The United States government or any of its departments, agencies, or instrumentalities;
(7) An accredited institution of higher education, as defined under § 10-101 of the Education Article;
(8) The sale of payment instruments by any person on behalf of any other person who is exempted by this subsection, if the payment instruments were received from the other person under a trust receipt for the specific purpose of sale;
(9) The provision of electronic transfer of government benefits for any federal, state, or county governmental agency as defined in Federal Reserve Board Regulation E, by a contractor for and on behalf of the United States or any of its departments, agencies, or instrumentalities, or any state or any political subdivision of any state; or
(10) Any authorized delegate of a licensee, acting within the scope of authority conferred by a written contract as described in § 12-413 of this subtitle.
(b) Exception. — Any person who is exempted by this section nevertheless may apply for and, if qualified, receive a license.
12-402

Registration Fees

(e) Fees. — With the application, the applicant shall pay to the Commissioner:
(1) A nonrefundable investigation fee of $ 1,000; and
(2) A nonrefundable license fee of $ 2,000. 12-407
(b) Renewal. — On or after November 1 of each year, a license may be renewed for a 1-year term, if the licensee:
(1) Otherwise is entitled to be licensed;
(2) Files evidence of a surety device required under § 12-412 of this subtitle;
(3) Pays to the Commissioner a nonrefundable renewal fee of $ 2,000; and
(4) Submits to the Commissioner:
(i) A renewal application in the form and in accordance with the process that the Commissioner requires;
(ii) A financial statement that complies with the requirements of § 12-407(b)(4) of this subtitle; and
(iii) Any other information that the Commissioner reasonably requires to determine that the renewal applicant continues to be eligible to be licensed.
12-411

Bond and Insurance Requirements

(1) The amount of the surety bond under subsection (b) of this section or the deposit in lieu of a surety bond under subsection (c) of this section shall be in an amount of not less than $ 150,000 and not more than $ 1,000,000, as determined by the Commissioner.
12-412

Bond Alternatives and Additional Insurance Requirements

(c) Permissible investments. —
(1) A deposit in lieu of a surety bond made to satisfy the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall:
(i) Have a market value equal to the amount required under subsection (d) of this section; and
(ii) Be held by the Commissioner to secure the same obligations as are required to be secured by a surety bond under subsection
(b) of this section.
(2) At any time, a licensee may exchange investments for other investments that meet the requirements of this subsection.
(3) The Commissioner may sell or transfer investments and distribute the proceeds on the same basis as provided for claims against a surety bond under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.
(4) As long as a licensee is solvent, the licensee is entitled to receive any interest or dividends earned by the investments.
(5)
(i) The Commissioner may place the investments in the custody of any qualified trust company in this State.
(ii) The licensee shall pay the compensation of this custodian.

D – (2) In setting the amount of the surety bond or the deposit in lieu of a surety bond, the Commissioner shall consider:
(i) The financial condition of the licensee or applicant;
(ii) For a licensee, the average monthly outstanding payment instruments or outstanding money transmission liability for the previous 12 months;
(iii) For an applicant, the projected monthly payment instrument sales and money transmission volume in the State, the business experience, and any other factor deemed appropriate; and
(iv) The potential loss of buyers and holders of payment instruments or persons for whom or to whom money is transmitted if the applicant or licensee becomes financially impaired.
12-412

Capital Requirements

(a) In general. — To qualify for a license, an applicant shall satisfy the Commissioner that the applicant:
(1) Is of good moral character and has sufficient financial responsibility, business experience, and general fitness to:
(i) Engage in the business of money transmission;
(ii) Warrant the belief that the business of money transmission will be conducted lawfully, honestly, fairly, and efficiently; and
(iii) Command the confidence of the public;
(2) Will keep at all times the permissible investments required under § 12-418 of this subtitle;
(3) Has a net worth computed according to generally accepted accounting principles of at least $ 150,000, plus an additional net worth of $ 10,000 for each additional location or authorized delegate, up to a maximum of $ 500,000 as provided in subsection (b) of this section; and
(4) Has at least 3 years of experience in the business of money transmission or other related financial services business under the following conditions:
(i) If the applicant is a sole proprietor, the applicant shall have the required experience;
(ii) If the applicant is a joint venture or partnership, at least one of the coventurers or general partners shall have the required experience; and
(iii) If the applicant is any other type of business, at least one of the principal officers or members shall have the required experience.
(b) Net worth requirements. — The Commissioner may require a net worth of up to $ 500,000, subject to consideration of the following:
(1) The nature and volume of the business or proposed business of the applicant;
(2) The amount, nature, quality, and liquidity of the assets of the applicant;
(3) The amount and nature of the liabilities, including contingent liabilities, of the applicant;
(4) The history of, and prospects for, the applicant to earn and retain income;
(5) The quality of the operations of the applicant;
(6) The quality of the management of the applicant;
(7) The nature and quality of the person that has control of the applicant; and
(8) Any other factor the Commissioner deems relevant.
12-406

Money Transmission License Required for Crypto Exchange?

No

State Comments or Statements

Released an advisory on virtual currencies which confirms that Maryland does not currently regulate virtual currencies:

http://www.dllr.state.md.us/finance/advisories/advisoryvirtual.pdf

The Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission released an interim report in early 2018 that recommended that Maryland’s General Assembly update the existing law to reflect the rise of cryptocurrency and make companies dealing in cryptocurrency subject to money transmitter regulations:

http://dls.maryland.gov/pubs/prod/NoPblTabMtg/MdFinProtCmsn/2017-Interim-Report.pdf