Nevada Sandbox FAQs

Why was the Sandbox Program created?

Through legislation sponsored by Senators Ben Kieckhefer and Pat Spearman, the Nevada Sandbox Program was created to promote economic development of blockchain and other fintech businesses in Nevada. The program's goal is to foster innovation and make cutting-edge financial products and services available to Nevadans while ensuring consumers are protected.

What is "fintech"?

Fintech is an abbreviation of "financial technology." Fintech encompasses new ways of providing traditional financial services such as banking, payment systems, or mortgage lending. A distributed ledger technology such as blockchain is one example of a fintech product. There are many different fintech products, but each delivers a financial service to the consumer in an innovative way.

Why is the Department of Business and Industry administering the program?

The Department of Business and Industry is the state agency with regulatory responsibility for financial institutions, mortgage lending, insurance, real estate and other types of businesses and commerce in Nevada. There is also a Consumer Affairs unit within the Director's Office which addresses individual consumer complaints and works with the Nevada Office of the Attorney General and other stakeholders to advance consumer protections in Nevada. For these reasons, the department was identified as being in the best position to administer the program.

Is Nevada working with other states that have approved similar regulatory sandbox programs?

The law creating the Nevada Sandbox Program allows the Director to enter into agreements with other jurisdictions to form cooperative arrangements regarding each jurisdictions' sandbox program. If any such agreements are made, the Director will announce them and provide information as necessary. At this time, we are working with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Innovation as Nevada's representative to the American Consumer Financial Innovation Network, which is focused on coordinating state and federal activities on consumer financial products, including regulatory sandbox initiatives.

What is Director of the Department of Business and Industry's role administration of the program?

The Director reviews applications, consults with the department's Financial Institutions Division and Mortgage Lending Division on proposed product or service tests, approves or denies applications and change requests, monitors and tracks the product and services tests, and reports annually to the Nevada Legislature on program status and policy recommendations. The Director also oversees the handling of any consumer complaints related to the program and works with the Nevada Consumer Advocate in the Office of the Nevada Attorney General for any enforcement action regarding violations of law by program participants.

Is there a limit to the number of participants that can be approved to enter the program?

Yes. No more than three (3) applications can be approved during each of the following time frames: January 1-June 30, 2020; July 1-December 31, 2020. No more than five (5) applications can be approved during each of the following time frames: January 1- June 30, 2021; July 1- December 31, 2021; January 1- June 30, 2022; and July 1- December 31, 2022.

What kind of products or services can be submitted for consideration?

Products and services eligible for consideration are those that reflect an innovation as defined in SB 161 and would otherwise be governed by the provisions of the following sections of NRS or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto: 

  • Chapter 645A- Escrow Agencies and Agents
  • Chapter 645B- Mortgage Brokers and Mortgage Agents
  • Chapter 645F- Mortgage Lending and Related Professions
  • Chapter 645G- Exchange Facilitators
  • Title 55- Banks and Related Organizations
  • Title 56- Other Financial Instutitions
Both existing Nevada business licensees and non-licensed businesses may apply. 


What kind of products or services are NOT eligible for consideration?

Any product or service that does not reflect an innovation as defined by Chapter 611, Statutes of Nevada 2019, or otherwise would not be regulated under NRS Chapters 645A, 645B, 645F and 645G; NRS Titles 55 or 56, or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto.

Are program participants exempt from compliance with all state and federal laws?

No. Depending on the specific conditions attached to each approval, participants may be exempt from some or all of NRS Chapters 645A, 645B, 645F or 645G; NRS Titles 55 and 56; or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, but federal laws will still apply. 

In addition, generally applicable state laws such as the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NRS Chapter 598), will apply. The law does provide that program participants are deemed to have appropriate state licenses for the purposes of any federal law requiring such state licenses. Ultimately, applicants should seek legal counsel to ensure compliance with any state and federal laws. 



Will the Department of Business and Industry provide licensing, regulatory or legal advice if accepted into the program?

No. The Director and staff do not provide legal advice or represent individuals or businesses applying to or participating in the Nevada Sandbox Program. 

Do I have to be a Nevada resident/ business to participate in the program?

No, however, to be considered for the program, an applicant must agree to be subject to the jurisdiction of Nevada courts in any and all matters pertaining to the applicant's product, service and test, if approved. The applicant must also consent to background and credit checks for key personnel; as well as to having read, understood and accepted all standards, requirements, and regulations of the program. Applicable state and local business licenses are also required.

Does participating in the Nevada program prevent an applicant from doing business in other jurisdictions?

No, participants are permitted to conduct business elsewhere in a manner consistent with whatever licensing or regulatory standards may apply in the jurisdiction of interest.

What if my company is a startup that doesn't have a lot of cash or organization?

For applicants with limited resources, entry into the the Nevada Sandbox Program may be conditioned upon acceptance of additional market restrictions that further reduce consumer risk. For example, an applicant willing to limit its test to several hundred consumers likely would not need to demonstrate that it possesses extensive financial records, multiple experts on staff or substantial liquidity.

How long can a participant tests its product/service in the program?

The testing period is limited to two (2) years from the date of the original application approval. A request to extend this period up to an additional year can be submitted, however, additional reporting requirements and formal licensing steps may apply.

Are there limits to a participant's test activity under the program?

Yes. In addition to any conditions or restrictions the Director might impose as part of a testing approval, there are specific activity limits imposed on participants by the program's authorizing law. For example, a  participant may not provide a given product or service to more than 5,000 consumers during the testing period. The participant can request a waiver to this limit from the Director, up to a total limit of 7,500 consumers.

A participant whose product or service involves money transmittal will be limited in how much it can receive for transmission or transmit during the period of testing. The limit is $2,500 in any single transaction for a consumer and $25,000 in any series of transactions for the same consumer. A participant can request a waiver to these limits from the Director, but only up to $15,000 in any single transaction and $50,000 in any series of transactions. 



What happens at the end of the testing period?

At the end of the two-year period, a program participant must either stop offering its product or take steps to obtain the applicable regulatory licenses to continue offering the product in Nevada. Applicants to the program must detail their wind-down plan and exit strategy as part of the application process.

What is the program's record keeping and retention requirement?

Participants are required to keep documents produced in the ordinary course of business relating to a product or service tested in the program. The retention period for those documents will be at least six (6) years after the end of the period of testing, unless otherwise required.

"Documents" include any electronic, written, printed or recorded material or information of any kind inscribed on a tangible medium or stored in an electronic format that is retrievable in perceivable form, including, without limitation: records, data, communications, and audio and video recordings. The term includes originals and copies of documents that have been amended by adding notes, underlining or attachments. Examples include: advertising materials, accounting workbooks, drafts of model contracts and forms, signed contracts and forms, data in its native format, and any metadata.



What reporting is required of program participants?

Each participant is required to submit periodic reports to the Director on the status of its product or service test. The anticipated frequency and content for the reports can be found in the applicable policy and procedures, available at http://business.nv.gov/Programs/Nevada_Sandbox_Program/ or by sending an email to nevada.sandbox@business.nv.gov. This frequency and content is subject to change by the Director at the time of application approval.

How do I apply to enter the program?

Program applications will be available upon final adoption of the permanent regulations, which is anticipated for mid- to late January. The application form will be posted on the Nevada Sandbox Program webpage or you may email nevada.sandbox@business.nv.gov to request the form. Complete the application as required, then submit it along with the non-refundable $500 application fee. The fee can be paid using certified check made payable to the Department of Business and Industry. Please ensure the check memorandum indicates "REPPI" or "Nevada Sandbox Program." A separate application and fee are required for each product or service being proposed for testing.

Can I partner with other businesses to apply to provide a particular product or service?

Yes. Businesses can partner with others in the program. The primary applicant must disclose its partner(s), the nature of the relationship(s), what the partner(s) will specifically do, and any other information the Director deems necessary.

How does the Director evaluate applications?

The Director intends to evaluate applications holistically to 1) understand how the proposed product or service innovation might serve in the interest of Nevada consumers and support economic and business development goals of the state, and 2) determine the applicant's ability to conduct a test that does not place undue risk on Nevada consumers. 

In reviewing each application, the Director will consult with regulatory staff within the Department and may consider factors including, but not limited to: capitalization, insurance or bonds and their terms, compliance or legal support, accounting practices, cash on hand, and the number and expertise of active advisors and key personnel.



When will a decision be made regarding a submitted application?

Once an application is submitted and deemed complete, the Director has 90 days to review it and determine whether to approve or decline it. This review period may be extended through mutual agreement of the Director and applicant. The Director will issue a notification to the applicant no later than five (5) days following the determination.

Who should I contact if I have a complaint regarding a test in the program?

Complaints concerning a product or service being tested in the Nevada Sandbox Program can be submitted to Nevada Consumer Affairs at http://consumeraffairs.nv.gov or by calling 844-594-7275 (toll-free). When submitting a complaint, please note clearly that it relates to a product or service in the "Nevada Sandbox Program."