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Arizona Bill Would Make Blockchain Smart Contracts 'Legal'

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on February 7, 2017 at 20:00 GMT
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An Arizona legislator wants to amend state law to account for blockchain signatures and smart contracts, public records show.

HB 2417, introduced on 6th February, would make a signature enshrined on a blockchain a legal signature under Arizona law. Conversely, any "record or contract" secured by a blockchain would be "considered to be in an electronic format and to be an electronic record". The bill was put forward by state representative Jeff Weninger.

Notably, the bill’s language also explicitly accounts for the use of smart contracts, or self-executing agreements built on top of a blockchain.

The proposed law states:

“Smart contracts may exist in commerce. A contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term.”

Further, the measure also includes a stipulation about who exactly owns the information secured by a blockchain.

“Notwithstanding any other law, a person that, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, uses blockchain technology to secure information that the person owns or has the right to use retains rights of ownership or use with respect to that information as before the person secured the information using blockchain technology,” the bill states.

The bill is somewhat akin to another measure put forward in Vermont that would make blockchain records admissible as evidence in court. In both cases, state law is amended to create a kind of legal backing for blockchain-based information.

Notably, Weninger’s bill is the second to emerge from Arizona’s state legislature since the start of the year.

In mid-January, state representative Paul Boyer submitted a bill that would largely prohibit the use of blockchain tech to track firearms.

The text of HB 2417 can be found below:

Arizona 2017 HB2417 Introduced by CoinDesk on Scribd

Image Credit: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock, Inc.

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