FARGO — A company that has transacted more than $1 trillion in cryptocurrency exchanges has launched in North Dakota.
Created in 2011, Blockchain.com announced Thursday, Oct. 6, that it has opened its custodial and brokerage product availability to the Peace Garden State, aiming to bring cryptocurrency access and employment to the Midwest.
In recent weeks, Blockchain.com launched in Florida, Oklahoma and Iowa in addition to roll-outs in Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Oregon, New Hampshire and New Mexico within the last year. Currently active in roughly 30 states, the firm said it intends to open in every state in the nation through individual license approvals.
According to its website, Blockchain.com hosts 77 million digital wallets and has handled one-third of all Bitcoin network transactions. With a market capitalization of $1 trillion, Bitcoin is the most valuable cryptocurrency in the world according to Coinbase. Additionally, the London- and Miami-based Blockchain.com has a total of 31 million verified users across 200 countries.
The roll-out in North Dakota is just one small piece of the company's "aggressive push" to expand in the Midwest, Blockchain.com's head of communications Brooks Wallace told The Forum. “At the rate we’re going, we should see a lot of traction even in the coming months," she said of the expansion efforts. “While the U.S. is only 20% of our business, it’s obviously a huge market and a huge focus for us.”
Wallace said Blockchain.com quickly identified North Dakota as a top priority for expansion due to the state's increasing embrace of the technology. Blockchain.com's launch is the most recent in a slew of developments concerning cryptocurrency and blockchain, the peer-to-peer digital ledger that makes cryptocurrencies possible.
In 2020, Mandan Rep. Nathan Toman proposed bringing forth a study to examine the possible uses of blockchain in the state government, going as far as suggesting the state create its own cryptocurrency token.
This year, Toman and a group of Republican legislators backed a bill to create a "crypto sandbox," which would have given cryptocurrency developers an established environment to test their products. Several early innovators such as Arizona and Wyoming launched similar programs, though North Dakota's version was struck down in the House, by a vote of 56 nays to 36 yeas.
Other notable cryptocurrency developments in North Dakota include the city of Williston becoming one of a small number of municipalities in the United States to accept cryptocurrency for bill payments and Dallas-based Applied Blockchain breaking ground on a cryptocurrency mining facility in Jamestown.
"States that are very crypto-forward and already showing an appetite for innovation like North Dakota are high on our priority list," Wallace explained. "Anytime we see states that are already excited about adopting crypto like North Dakota, we’ve even more excited to engage their residents."
It's the same reason Blockchain.com made a "big splash" in Florida, she added, another state which passed legislation to create a crypto sandbox in 2020. The city of Miami has particularly welcomed cryptocurrency, Wallace said, implementing "MiamiCoin" a mining program which has generated $7.1 million for the city, The Washington Post reported. “Who knows?" Wallace said. "Maybe there will be a Fargo coin soon."
Blockchain.com already had thousands of custody wallet users in North Dakota, Wallace noted, meaning those users could store or swap cryptocurrency using the platform. The money transmitter's license Blockchain.com recently obtained means users in the state can now buy and sell cryptocurrency as well. "We’re already seeing some really impressive trading volume and we’re excited to see that continue to rise," she said. "We’re really just hoping that this launch encourages thousands more to use our trading platform and really earn their financial freedom."
Additionally, as a "remote-first" company, North Dakota residents can also apply for jobs with Blockchain.com in areas such as compliance, customer service, data science, engineering, finance, legal and marketing. “We would love to encourage any crypto enthusiasts in North Dakota to apply to our open positions. The type of people that we’re looking for is anybody who shares a passion for crypto and really building the future of finance," Wallace said.