Rhode Island Lawmakers Hope to Boost State Economy With Blockchain-Friendly Legislation

A newly introduced blockchain bill aims to provide a "welcoming" environment for fintech companies in a bid to stimulate growth and jobs.

Feb 10, 2021 at 2:58 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:10 p.m. UTC

The Rhode Island General Assembly is to consider draft legislation aiming to harness blockchain technology as a means to stimulate growth, create jobs and diversify the U.S. state's economy.

The "Rhode Island Economic Growth Blockchain Act" aims to nurture a "welcoming business environment" for technology and blockchain companies. It highlights how existing frameworks are unfit for purpose due to being created at a time when products and services were not technology focused.

The act, introduced Tuesday by House Minority Leader Blake Filippi and fellow Republican Representative David Place, proposes the creation of a regulatory sandbox for "innovators to develop the next generation of digital products and services" and help the state compete in the 21st century economy.

According to the bill, the state should seek to offer banking services tailored to innovators in this space, highlighting the difficulties experienced due to federally insured institutions not being permitted to manage accounts in cryptocurrency or other digital assets.

House Bill 5425 emphasizes the importance of cooperation between the public and private sectors in the state to provide greater trust and accountability between government, businesses and citizens.

The legislative bid marks Rhode Island's latest attempt to attract companies harnessing blockchain technology. In June 2019, the state sought proposals from companies to explore the viability of distributed ledger technology to improve state operations, in areas such as notarization, registration and licensing, contracts and fraud mitigation.

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