Wisconsin Cryptocurrency Laws

Relevant Statute

Wisconsin Statutes; Seller of Checks Law 217.01

“Money Transmitter” Definition

“Seller of checks” means a person who, as a service or for a fee or other consideration, engages in the business of selling and issuing checks or the receiving of money for transmission or the transmitting of money, or the transmitting of money to foreign countries. 217.02

Additional Definitions

“Check” means any check, draft, money order, traveler’s check, personal money order or other instrument for the transmission or payment of money. 217.02

Exemptions

This chapter does not apply to any of the following: (1) Banks organized under the laws of this state or authorized to do business in this state with respect to checks sold in a bank. (2) Credit unions, with respect to checks sold in the credit union office, except as provided in s. 186.113 (22). (3) Savings and loan associations with respect to checks sold in the savings and loan office, except as provided by s. 215.13 (41). (4) U.S. post-office money orders. (5) Savings banks with respect to checks sold in the savings bank office, except as provided under s. 214.04 (20). 217.04

Registration Fees

$500 Licensing Fee $300 Investigation Fee

Bond and Insurance Requirements

(3) (a) A surety bond issued by a bonding company or insurance company authorized to do business in this state has been filed in the minimum principal sum of $10,000 for the first location and an additional sum of $5,000 for each additional location unless the division determines that a bond in such amount is insufficient in which event it may require a bond in a larger sum, but in no event shall the bond exceed $300,000. The bond shall be in a form satisfactory to the division and shall run to the state for the benefit of any claimants against the applicant or the applicant’s agents to secure the faithful performance of the obligations of the applicant and the applicant’s agents with respect to the receipt, handling, transmission and payment of money in connection with the sale of checks and to reimburse the division for any examination or liquidation expense. The aggregate liability of the surety in no event shall exceed the principal sum of the bond. The surety shall have the right to cancel such bond upon giving not less than 60 days’ written notice to the division, but such cancellation shall not release the surety from any liability that may arise with respect to obligations of the licensee outstanding on or prior to the effective day that such bond is canceled. Such claimants against the applicant or the applicant’s agents may themselves bring suit directly on the bond, or the attorney general may bring suit thereon in behalf of such claimants, either in one action or successive actions. 217.06

Bond Alternatives and Additional Insurance Requirements

b) In lieu of such corporate surety bond, or of any portion of the principal thereof as required by this section, the applicant may deposit with such banks or trust companies in this state as the applicant designates and the division approves, interest-bearing obligations of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or guaranteed by the United States, or of this state, or of a city, county, town, village, school district or instrumentality of this state, or guaranteed by this state, to an aggregate amount, based upon principal amount or market value, whichever is lower, of not less than the amount of the required corporate surety bond or portion thereof. The securities shall be held to secure the same obligations as would the surety bond but the depositor shall be entitled to receive all interest thereon, shall have the right with the approval of the division to substitute other securities for those deposited, and shall be required to do so on written order of the division. The licensee shall pay all expenses of maintaining the deposit of obligations deposited in lieu of a corporate surety bond. 217.06

Capital Requirements

The financial statement must illustrate an applicant’s tangible net worth of $100,000 or more. *Taken from NMLS Application*

Money Transmission License Required for Crypto Exchange?

No (Absent involvement of sovereign currency)

State Comments or Statements

Seller of Checks law does not give the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions the authority to regulate virtual currency. Therefore, the division is unable to license or supervise companies whose business activities are limited to those involving virtual currencies. However, if the transmission of virtual currency includes the involvement of sovereign currency, it may be subject to licensure depending on how the transaction is structured. https://www.wdfi.org/fi/lfs/soc/