Florida may become the newest state to legally recognize blockchain signatures and smart contracts if House Bill 1357 is passed.
The new bill states that contracts secured through blockchain technology are merely forms of electronic records, and hence should be legally recognized. Currently, the State of Florida does not recognize such contracts. This means that Florida residents who transact with digital currency and secure transactions with smart contracts, cannot defend their ownership of the records.
If passed into law, the bill will instil more confidence in people using smart contracts. It will especially help secure ownership rights for interstate and foreign commercial ventures.
Not the First of its Kind
Florida is just one of several states that are taking note of the prevalent use of cryptocurrencies. Several other states have passed bills that will help regulate this trend, considering that millions of dollars in transactions are at play.
Arizona passed a similar bill in March 2017. Its bill was designed to recognize blockchain signatures, hence giving the state government better control of digital currency transactions. The bill was passed almost unanimously, and took the governor only two days to sign it into law. This may give an insight into the course that Florida’s bill will take, and likely many other states across the nation.
Vermont was the first state to pass such a law through its economic development bill. It essentially equated smart transactions and blockchain signatures to ordinary types of transactions. This meant that they were subject to legal evidence that would normally be admissible in court.
Why the Trend?
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been beyond the control of the government so far. This has raised concerns that they may be used for criminal activity such as money laundering and financing terrorism. However, this is slowly changing as more and more countries pass laws to regulate digital currencies.
States may be motivated by two things in this trend. Firstly, they are seeking to keep digital currency transactions in check for the sake of the financial sector. Records are made legal meaning that users can be held accountable for illegal activities. This instils some level of order, prompting digital currency users to comply with the set financial laws. States are also trying to avert any illegal activities that may be facilitated by such contracts. Now, the states can monitor such transactions and link users to their actions.
More and more states will join in with the trend as digital currencies become more popular. In the end, digital currencies may be just as regulated as most other currencies.
Are you from Florida? How do you feel about House Bill 1357, and how do you think it might affect you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.