Just DLT It: Blockchain Marriage Certificate Program is a Real Thing in Washoe County, Nevada


Blockchain marriage certifies seem to be a thing – just call and ask the Washoe County Recorder’s Office in Northern Nevada, which sent out 800 such certificates according to BreakerMag's Jessica Klein. The certificates are only for those who married in Washoe county, but they have been issued to individuals as far as Spain, Tobago, and the Republic of Trinidad.

According to Hunter Halcomb, a department systems technician for the county recorder,

“The way the law is written in Nevada, each office issuing certified copies of documents gets to decide what constitutes a certified copy. We say they’re certified, but that doesn’t mean receiving agencies have the capability of receiving digital documents.”

Interestingly enough, Spain upheld the blockchain marriage certificate as valid.

Nevada started the blockchain certificate program in April 2018 to expedite the process. Traditionally, couples would need to send in paper copies of their marriage certificate and digital copies seemed too insecure. Ethereum blockchain seemed to solve the problem by providing a safer and faster mechanism to transmit digital documents. As a result, blockchain marriage certificates are becoming more prominent.

Western states seem to be most accepting of the blockchain marriage certificates. In February 2018, a conference called “Building the New Nevada on Trust” was held and during the conference, a discussion about the power and potential of blockchain was held. There are three counties in Nevada that are now accepting the blockchain marriage certificates and other important documents.

Halcomb continued,

“We think blockchain technology is much safer than paper certificates. You have to beat the blockchain in order to forge one of those things, and with paper certificates, you just have to know about document forging, which is something people have been doing for a long time.”

Blockchain marriage certificates provide users with the added benefit of convenience, and many do it not for the purpose of solidifying their relationship on an immutable digital safe haven. But that doesn’t mean that there are no people who do so. There are actually three couples who have stated that they’ve put their marriage certificate on the blockchain for love.

The first couple is Susanne Tempelhof and James Fennell

The two were married in March 2016 at the Bitcoin Embassy in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Their marriage contract is on the ethereum network at Bitnation. For those who are unaware, Bitnation is a

“decentralized, borderless, voluntary nation.”

Tempelhof stated,

“As for legality, it’s a written contract on an immutable public ledger. In a nation-state, it would count as something similar to a prenup agreement, but it wouldn’t count as a marriage agreement, which sometimes entitles you to certain benefits like tax breaks or whatever.”

The couple met in Benghazi in 2011 for government research.

The second couple is Lex Campbell and Danielle Laity

The couple got engaged in June 2018 and marked their engagement on the Ethereum blockchain. Campbell has always been a “huge fan” of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and he has stayed in its realm during his professional career. Laity also works in the industry. Campbell stated,

“Seeing as we both work in this industry, we thought this is most certainly the start of marriage 2.0.”

The couple is looking forward to updating their contract on the network once they get married.

The third couple is Tiffany and Michael Cabibbo

The couple, from Tampa, Florida, decided to signify their relationship by placing it on the blockchain. Michael stated that he told Tiffany

“How would you like to put our vows and our wedding certificate in a place where it will supposedly remain forever”

and that Tiffany responded,

“Yeah that sounds great. I love you, and I don’t plan on undoing this contract, so why not.”

According to Michael,

“She’s not as technical as I am, so she went along with it.”

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