On Feb. 8 Tesla disclosed in an SEC filing that the company invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin (BTC) in January, and aims “to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future.”
"He's a great innovator and Wyoming is the perfect state for innovation," said Lummis in an interview with Yahoo Finance. "We want to make sure that we have a place for people who understand the benefits of Bitcoin to locate their business."
Lummis pointed to Wyoming's low tax burden – no state income or corporate taxes – as selling points. She also said the state has been more open to cryptocurrencies than other states.
"We have special depository financial institutions that were created specifically to transact business and hold deposits in bitcoin, and even passed laws to create a chancery court -- which will be an avenue to create case law, for the rest of the country that they can turn to as instructive to how to resolve commercial issues and transaction issues in Bitcoin," said Lummis. "We think we're the innovator."
So far, the senator hasn't heard back from Musk.
"I am just dying to have a dialogue with him," said Lummis.
Musk announced late last year that he moved to Texas.
'I just don't want us to mess this up'
Lummis is the first senator known to own bitcoin and told Yahoo Finance she has no plans to sell it. The new senator, who took office in January, is part of the Senate Banking Committee and says she'll make cryptocurrencies one of her priorities.
"I just don't want us to mess this up, because I see it as so helpful in terms of being a store of value for everyday Americans going into the future," said Lummis. "I'd hate to see government that is accustomed -- because it has a fiat currency – to regulating, feel that it's going to be a better regulator than the innovators who created bitcoin and continue to nurture it."
Lummis is launching a financial innovation caucus to focus on digital assets and emerging financial technologies, with the goal of educating senators about bitcoin as they consider future regulation.
"Very little is known by policymakers here in the U.S. Senate about bitcoin. I don't think there's an appreciation for how important it's going to be going forward as we continue to debase the U.S. dollar by overspending, by having no plan to retire any of the debt that we're accruing," said Lummis.
Gary Gensler, President Joe Biden's nominee for SEC Chair, is very familiar with the crypto world. He taught a course on cryptocurrencies at MIT and has testified before Congress on the subject. He has both acknowledged the potential and advocated for greater regulation in the space.
"We have to allow it to innovate, but still have the ability to make sure it is very safe and secure...from fraud and criminal activity," said Lummis.
Jessica Smith is chief political correspondent for Yahoo Finance, based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.