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Failure to remove Hawaii’s cryptocurrency barriers could be ‘tragic’

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On the latest episode of “Hawaii Together,” guest Alexandra Gaiser helped demystify the concept of cryptocurrency for host Keli’i Akina.

Gaiser is director of regulatory affairs for River Financial, one of 15 companies operating in Hawaii’s Digital Currency Innovation Lab.

Speaking with Akina from Washington, D.C., on Jan. 3, 2022, she called cryptocurrency, “the latest evolution … of a practice as old as man, and that is: bartering — exchanging one thing for another and using some symbolic token to represent what you’re exchanging.”

Gaiser pointed out that Americans already are very comfortable with different forms of digital transactions.

“Even now,” she said, “I pay for some things with credit card points. I book certain flights with airline miles. Anytime I give or receive a gift card, it’s denominated in dollars, but it’s not quite dollars. It’s a little bit more [like] store credit. We all are actually pretty sophisticated consumers of different types of currency, not all of which are related to the U.S. government.”

Gaiser said it would be “tragic” for Hawaii’s economic future if the Legislature doesn’t act quickly and continues to overregulate cryptocurrency companies in the state.

“To be in 2022, in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, is like being in 1996, in the world of the internet,” she said. “There’s so much that we haven’t done yet, we haven’t built yet. I would hate to see Hawaii miss out on the innovation to really improve life and to be creative, to be innovative, to make new products, [and] then to also miss out on the wealth that comes with that.

Watch the entire episode below.

 

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