Ohio Blockchain Bill SB220 Accepted for Legal Status of Signatures and Contracts as Law


Ohio is jumping on the blockchain technology bandwagon – kind of. In May, Senator Matt Dolan submitted to the state’s legislature a blockchain bill (SB300) defining the legal status of blockchain signatures and contracts. Although the original bill failed to pass muster, similar language was used in another bill, SB220, which deals with cybersecurity, as amendments.

That month, the senate house passed in latter bill, followed by the house in June. John Kasich, the state’s governor, signed the bill in September.

Unlike the original bill, which defined terms such as “blockchain technology,” “smart contracts,” and identified that electronic records and signatures secured through blockchain technology are valid electronic signatures, the signed bill does not include any of these elements. “

The passed bill features the language that survived, which is that –

“A record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic record.”

Further,

“A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in electronic form and to be an electronic signature.”

These statements alter the state’s Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA), which ensures that electronic transactions have the same force as paper transactions.

Some other states, which have their own version of the UETA, are looking to amend the act. The most popular amendment is clarification of certain blockchain-secured transactions. The improved clarify may reduce the onset of litigation and provide clarity for parties to a transaction. As for the passage of Ohio’s bill, Dolan stated,

“I want Ohio to be the next Silicon Valley where our schools are taking the lead in blockchain coding, creating an educated workforce that will attract new businesses, innovators and fostering a creative spirit in Ohio.”

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