Washington State’s ‘Blockchain Bill’ Signed Into Law

Blockchain Regulations United States
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee officially signed the bill into law on April 26, enshrining the act “recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology” into state law.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee officially signed the bill into law on April 26, enshrining the act “recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology” into state law.

Blockchain innovators in Washington State are excited at the passage of Substitute Senate Bill 5638, believing that it will help to kickstart innovation in fintech.

The bill enjoyed near-unanimous bipartisan support thanks to its focus on encouraging the development of distributed ledger technology, which helps to manage digital records.

The passage of the bill ensures that electronic records won’t be denied legal effect due to being stored on, or generated through, distributed ledger technologies like blockchain. Distributed ledger technology is already enjoying widespread success in fields such as product supply chain management and real estate transactions.  

The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick), noted the importance of the bill in keeping blockchain innovators in the state, which is known for its thriving technology sector.    

We develop this technology here and we want to keep these companies here. This bill will ensure that Washington state will continue to be a leader in distributed ledger technology”.

Seattle-based blockchain technologist Brandon Kite, another of the bill’s supporters called the bill a triumph, saying that “the largely unanimous passage of SB 5638 demonstrates Washington states’ proactive approach to ensuring socially responsible technology advancement.

While other regulatory environments tend to polarize towards the extremes of either a total ban or laissez-faire, Washington state is a champion of striking a smart balance between consumer protections and technology enablement”.

The bill was also championed by the Cascadia Blockchain Council – part of the Washington Technology Industry Association.  With members such as Council Chair Arry Yu (Former COO of Storm), John deVadoss (head of development at NEO), and Lawrence Lerner (CEO of Pithia, the former investment arm for RChain Coop).

With the widespread support in the legislature for the SB 5638 blockchain bill, many industry players are expecting additional blockchain legislation to follow soon. Such legislation could further define and fine-tune the Washington State regulatory environment.

Due to the Sunday, April 28th adjournment of Washington State’s 2019 legislative session, such new legislation is widely expected to be forthcoming in the 2020 legislative session.  

About the author

Conor Bronsdon

Conor Bronsdon

Conor Bronsdon is a consultant at Olive & Goose specializing in blockchain regulation and brand strategy. He is a contributor to Coinlaw and Coin Review and also serves as Legislative Action Chair of the Washington Blockchain Coalition. You can read more of his writing at conorbronsdon.com.

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