The governor of Tennessee has signed a bill that legally recognizes blockchain data and smart contracts under state law.
Governor Bill Haslam signed the measure on Thursday, public records show, capping a months-long process that saw Tennessee become the latest U.S. state to pursue such legislation. According to data from LegiScan, the bill had sailed through the legislature since its introduction in January, passing both chambers unanimously.
As the text of the bill explains:
"As introduced, recognizes the legal authority to use blockchain technology and smart contracts in conducting electronic transactions; protects ownership rights of certain information secured by blockchain technology."
The law also recognizes smart contracts as having legal power, stating that "no contract relating to a transaction shall be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term."
The law is similar to efforts in Florida and Nebraska to store legal information on a blockchain. However, the Florida bill "died on calendar," filings show, while the Nebraska bill has not yet been voted on by the full Assembly. It remains unclear if and when the Nebraska legislature will move for a full vote.
Arizona's governor signed a similar measure into law last May.
Tennessee legislature image via Nagel Photography / Shutterstock