Washington State Law Recognizes Blockchain Records as Legally Valid and Enforceable

The United States state of Washington has passed a bill that recognizes and protects the legal status of electronic records pertaining to distributed ledgers like blockchains. The bill, substitute senate bill 5638, was signed into effect by Governor Jay Inslee on April 26.

The original version of the bill had its first reading by the Washington state legislature on January 25, 2019. The bill has now passed with 96–1 and will go into effect in late July.

The new law has a clause which prevents discriminating against electronic records which have in some way been part of a distributed ledger:

“An electronic record may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is generated, communicated, received, or stored using distributed ledger technology.”

The bill also provides legal definitions for the terms “blockchain” and “distributed ledger” that can be referred to moving forward.

The Tennessee legislature made a similar move in March 2018, when Governor Bill Haslam signeda bill that “‘recognizes the legal authority of blockchain technology and smart contracts in conducting electronic transactions,’” according to its summary.

As previously reported Ohio has recently introduced a bill that also is related to the use of distributed ledgers. In this instance, House Bill 220 aims to allow the government of Ohio to implement blockchain-aided solutions. For instance, blockchain could allow the state government to readily track and share identifying information, such as car titles and licenses.

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