Delaware Introduces Bill to Legally Recognize Blockchain Stocks

A US state has introduced a long-awaited bill that would legally recognize blockchain-based business records.

AccessTimeIconMay 8, 2017 at 11:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:18 p.m. UTC
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Senators in Delaware have introduced a bill that would legally recognize blockchain stock ledgers and other business records.

Introduced on 4th May, the measure explicitly clears the way for "the creation and maintenance of corporate records" using blockchain. The definition would further capture a corporation's stock ledger, an accounting record used to keep track of when stocks were sold and to whom.

As the bill explains:

"Any records administered by or on behalf of the corporation in the regular course of its business, including its stock ledger, books of account and minute books, may be kept on, or by means of, or be in the form of, any information storage device, method, or one or more electronic networks or databases (including one or more distributed electronic networks or databases), provided that the records so kept can be converted into clearly legible paper form within a reasonable time."

Proposed legislative language for the bill first began circulating in March, following the release of a draft law by the Delaware State Bar Association's Corporation Law Section.

CoinDesk previously reported that Delaware has been seeking a path to integrating blockchain into its business records framework, working with industry startups and legal minds to develop a path forward. State officials have said they want businesses to start utilizing the tech sometime this year.

If passed, the bill would clear the way for blockchain-based proxy voting – a concept that one judge in Delaware has said would significantly improve conditions for investors.

The introduction comes just over a year after now-former Delaware Governor Jack Markell unveiled a wide-ranging plan to integrate blockchain into the state's business records processes.

At the time, Markell talked about the prospects of managing shares via distributed ledger, predicting a "dramatic increase in efficiency and speed and an increase in commercial transactions" would result from the tech's more widespread use.

Though the law could become effective as soon as 1st August if passed, because of the schedule by which Delaware’s legislature operates, it could be sidelined if work isn't completed before 30th June. In order to become law, both chambers of the legislature would have to finalize the bill before sending it to new Governor Jack Carney for approval.

Sources close to the effort tell CoinDesk that they are confident the bill will be completed and signed into law by that date.

Michael del Castillo contributed reporting.

Delaware flag via Shutterstock

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