Washington State shouldn’t let blockchain regulation go to pot

Guest post by Seth Goldfarb from PNW Blockchain

Seth is the Coordinator of PNW Blockchain.

Washington State recently passed SB5638, “recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology,” to much fanfare in the local community, but the bill itself does little to position Washington as a hub of blockchain innovation and without quick and decisive action, we could very well be on a path to repeat the same mistakes made in the course of regulating the legalization of cannabis in Washington.

If you happen to have paid attention to what’s happened with the legalization of cannabis in Washington, progressives similarly celebrated the passage of I-502 back in 2012, but our failure to follow-up with appropriate regulations has stunted business development, investment, and tax revenue while making Washington a laughing stock among the international cannabis community.

The Washington “Blockchain Bill” provides a legal definition of “distributed ledger technology” and “smart contracts” and basically provides clarification for attorneys that smart contracts are indeed legally-binding contracts and that data created on and stored by blockchain or other forms of distributed ledger tech has the same legal standing as any other data. If that sounded entirely underwhelming to you, then you might understand why I’m less than excited about the passage of this bill.

Wyoming, of all states, has already done a fantastic job of enacting legislation to clarify issues for blockchain companies around banking, compliance, and ownership and Colorado has staked a prominent claim in the blockchain ecosystem with the success of last year’s ETHDenver conference.

If Washington wants to embrace this opportunity to establish our state as a leader of the blockchain ecosystem, we need to learn from history and correct our mistakes.

What happened with legalization?

Washington became the second state in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on Dec. 6, 2012,…

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