Minnesota Crypto Adoption on the Rise Despite Bear Market

Updated by Rosario Junco
In Brief
  • Cryptocurrency is gaining mainstream momentum in Minnesota, mainly through bitcoin ATMs.
  • Unbanked citizens have been keen adopters of cryptocurrency use in the state.
  • While regulation is unclear, it appears that state securities agency is adopting the 'regulation by enforcement' ethos.
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Despite the recent market downturn, crypto use and adoption are gaining mainstream acceptance in Minnesota.

They can be used to purchase clothes and food and are accepted at Home Depot, Whole Foods, and Starbucks in the state, according to a University of Minnesota professor, Vivian Fang.

Paypal’s inclusion of a crypto payment option has enabled crypto spending at over two million online merchants in the U.S., Fang added, and large purchases are also gaining traction. Purchases of real estate, travel and digital items, and donations to charity are all being made through cryptocurrency channels, said Joshua Held, strategy chief at OpenNode. The company helps companies add bitcoin to their payments processing.

Merchants expand crypto footprint

Cryptocurrency ATM provider Coin Cloud has installed 159 kiosks in Minnesota and has also installed machines in North and South Dakota, according to Chris McAlary. The company targeted brick-and-mortar facilities because it’s in those locations where customers are most likely to use cash.

Kwik Trip, a gas station and convenience store operator at over 500 sites across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa has partnered with bitcoin ATM provider Coinsource.

A gym software entrepreneur Chad Capp, whose company is based in Osseo, Minnesota, is exploring how to allow gym memberships to be paid with cryptocurrency through the company’s HelloGym software.

Fang said that unbanked citizens are also a key market since crypto wallet operators do not require a bank account. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, in 2019, about 5.4% of the U.S. population ̣(about seven million citizens) don’t have a bank account. Much of this unbanked populace hail from ethnic minorities such as Asian, Black, and Hispanic, that earn meager income and experience frustration trying to enter the traditional banking system.

Fang says that crypto provides an easy alternative where a credit score is not needed.

What about enforcement?

As federal regulators grapple with how to bring enforcement to the sector, state authorities in Minnesota have taken steps to protect investors. The Minnesota Department of Commerce joined 31 states and the Securities and Exchange Commission in receiving a $100 million settlement for offering unregistered interest-bearing products to state residents. The state will receive $940,000 from the action.

Two months ago, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) said that Congressman for Minnesota’s sixth district, Tom Emmer, would work alongside Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama to drive a bill in the Senate prohibiting the U.S. Department of Labor from determining the merits of assets that can be included in 401(k) plans.

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