States begin new year with blockchain legislation

Newswire: Jan. 12, 2018

Dateline: Nashville, Tenn.

Legislatures in three states are considering bills that recognize blockchain technology as valid under their state’s contract law, continuing a trend of state governments accepting the technology and finding ways for local enterprises to harness it.

Tennessee, Nebraska and Florida all have bills before their state assemblies. Nebraska has three, in fact. One addresses cryptocurrency with respect to the state’s money-laundering laws, another recognizes blockchain solutions as valid for notarization, and a third restricts Nebraska municipalities from trying to regulate blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, themselves.

Florida’s bill recognizes records and contracts secured by blockchain technology as legally valid, and that an electronic signature secured by blockchain is also a valid electronic signature under state law. Additionally, those who use blockchain to secure contracts for out-of-state or foreign ventures would have their rights to that information recognized under Florida law.

The latest bill, in Tennessee, would also declare records or contracts secured by blockchain technology have legal force in the state. Specifically, it declares that “No contract relating to a transaction shall be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term.”

Last year, Arizona passed a blockchain-recognition statute, and the state later saw considerable growth in cryptocurrency ATMs opening in large market areas.