Law and Legislation

Washington State Senate Introduces Bill Promoting Blockchain Technology

Washington State has decided to begin 2019 with a focus on technological innovation, and despite past difficulties by other states,  a group of senators recently introduced a bill that seeks to make a series of amendments to current legislation to promote the use of blockchain technologies, especially in the area of identity verification.

Blockchain Technology is Earning a Place in the American Legal System

The bill is sponsored by Senators Sharon Brown, Ann Rivers, Randi Becker, and Shelly Short.  These four Republican legislators must now continue to promote the law in the committee.

clockwise and starting on the top left: Sharon Brown, Ann Rivers, Randi Becker, and Shelly Short

According to official information from the Washington State Legislature, Bill SB 5638 had its first reading on January 25, 2019 and intends to amend the Washington Electronic Authentication Act, by adding certain definitions relating to blockchain technologies, as well as a series of  changes in the body of the original Act, to adapt it to this technological innovation.

The new bill is expected to promote better digital signature verification techniques by “encouraging the development of distributed ledger technology”.

The bill differentiates between blockchain per se and a Distributed Ledger Technology. It also seems to promote blockchain as a tool that can be very helpful for many industries other than payment processing and financial services providers:

To avoid confusion in people, the bill includes a legal definition of Blockchain, which reads as follows:

‘Blockchain’ means a cryptographically secured, chronological, and decentralized consensus ledger or consensus database maintained via internet, peer-to-peer network, or other similar interaction.”

They also explain what is a Distributed Ledger Technology, a term considered by many to be a synonym for blockchain:

“Distributed ledger technology’ means any distributed ledger protocol and supporting infrastructure, including blockchain, that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared, and replicated ledger.”

Washington State: Working Hard to Become a Blockchain-Friendly Place

Washington State

Until now it is not known when the law will be discussed again.  The committee must carry out the necessary analysis and research to guarantee its legality and make the necessary recommendations in case it considers it convenient.

The state has a relationship with cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech. As reported by Ethereum World News, this place is the third cheapest place for Bitcoin mining in the United States. Mining in Washington was so profitable, its whole infrastructure was not able to keep up with the growth of the mining industry that was happening in the state. Ron Cridlebaugh – Port of Douglas County Economic Development Manager said about that situation:

“Our infrastructure is actually being put to the test. We’re full…It’s going to take some time to catch up because growth has been so quick.”

Washington is not the only state that has tried to adapt its legal system to the hype of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.  Other initiatives have already been passed throughout the United States, the most interesting being those promoted by the states of Wyoming, Arizona and recently Ohio.

The senators have not revealed more information about the status of the proceedings beyond what is known by the website of the legislature.

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Lawyer, Specialist on Strategic Planning, Professor, Blockchain Writer Email Jose directly at [email protected]
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