Ohio Senator Matt Dolan has introduced a bill to his state senate to legally recognize the information stored on the blockchain. Including both smart contracts and financial records, this recognition would be a significant milestone in the legal transition of blockchain technology from a regulated entity to a recognized financial system in the United States.
The bill functions by amending the Uniform Electronic Transition Act, allowing it to apply to records and contracts stored on the blockchain. This bill, Senate Bill 300, marks an important step in governmental regulation of cryptocurrencies, as well as the Initial Coin Offerings which continue to cause problems on the international stage due to the commonality of scams within its industry.
The most important implication of this bill is likely its impact on the ownership of information. In the United States, individuals have a certain amount of personal control over information that is stored on the internet. Typically, this includes personal financial information. But the extension to blockchain technology has been difficult; it is unclear at this point how exactly public financial information stored on the blockchain applies to the existing definition of personal online data.
This could be a good move for the state in its efforts to establish a safe-haven for blockchain technological development. Legally recognizing the company is the first step in Ohio presenting itself as a potential host for the development of future technologies on the digital public ledger, or the blockchain.
Cryptocurrency Community Opposition
To further complicate matters, the classification of personal information on the blockchain as legally-recognized personal data is a move that might cause significant problems within the cryptocurrency community. Legislation regarding digital privacy by the European Union led to the shutdown of PICOPS, an address-verification platform created by Parity Technologies.
Part of the problem arises from the inherent immutability of information on the blockchain. Consumers who want to remove their personal information from the public, decentralized ledger will generally be unable to.
Despite this, many consider legal recognition of cryptocurrencies to be a very positive step forward for the technology and the community.
Other States And Cryptocurrencies
Other U.S. states are also working to legitimize and welcome cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies into their own economic ecosystem. Georgia, for example, has put forward a bill that would allow the digital, decentralized currencies to be used for taxes and licensing fees. This form of legitimization places the currency on recognizable terms with traditional fiat money in the state.
Arizona has also made efforts to normalize the currency, with one representative outlining that the state has the “intention to build” an institution where the cryptocurrencies are accepted and blockchain innovation is encouraged.
Though opposition may exist, it is also clear that substantive benefits may result from the legitimization of cryptocurrencies into current governmental frameworks in the United States. The efforts of some states to recognize the data present on the blockchain as legitimate has several ramifications for the interpretation and autonomy of personal information and personal data.
Only time will tell which governments succeed in their efforts, and how the evolving cryptocurrency community will respond to the integration of their independent and decentralized currency into a centralized economic and legal system.