Special Purpose Depository Institutions

Wyoming-chartered special purpose depository institutions (“SPDIs”) are banks that receive deposits and conduct other activity incidental to the business of banking, including custody, asset servicing, fiduciary asset management, and related activities.

SPDIs will likely focus on digital assets, such as virtual currencies, digital securities and digital consumer assets. For example, SPDIs may elect to provide custodial services for digital assets and, in accordance with customer instructions, undertake authorized transactions on behalf of customers. SPDIs may also conduct activity under Wyoming regulations tailored to digital assets, which address issues such as technology controls, transaction handling, and custody operations for digital assets. As a final example, SPDIs operate under Wyoming law that defines digital assets in conjunction with the Wyoming Uniform Commercial Code and describes, among things, perfection and priority of security interests in digital assets.

SPDIs may focus on traditional assets as well. They also may serve as a vehicle for business cash management, operational accounts, and any other purpose permitted under applicable law. However, SPDIs are generally prohibited from making loans with customer deposits of fiat currency and they must at all times maintain unencumbered level 1 high-quality liquid assets valued at 100% or more of their depository liabilities. Given this, SPDIs are not required to obtain insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—though they may do so.

SPDIs may resemble custody banks because they will likely be predominantly engaged in custody, safekeeping, and asset servicing activities. The role of a custody bank is focused on safekeeping assets, fiduciary management, transaction processing and settlement, and providing an “on/off” ramp to securities markets, commodities markets and customer bank accounts.

Wyoming first authorized SPDI charters with the enactment of House Bill 74 in 2019, which created the Special Purpose Depository Institutions Act (“SPDI Act”) at Wyo. Stat. § 13-12-101, et seq. Wyoming also created its digital asset law at Wyo. Stat. § 34-29-101, et seq. with the enactment of Senate File 125 in 2019. Since then, Wyoming amended the SPDI Act in 2020 and amended its digital asset law in 2021, with the latter becoming effective July 1, 2021. The Division of Banking also promulgated new SPDI and digital asset regulations in 2020. It also adopted amendments to the SPDI and digital asset regulations in 2021.

Wyoming’s statutes, rules, guidance, and other information related to SPDIs and digital assets may be found below.

The Division has been accepting SPDI applications since October 1, 2019. The Wyoming Banking Board has approved four SPDI charters thus far. Application materials and background information may be found below. If you are considering applying for a SPDI charter, please contact the Division at (307) 777-7797 or at wyomingbankingdivision@wyo.gov.