Vermont is close to approving a study of how blockchain could help the state.
State lawmakers want to see how they could attract startups working with the tech, and by consequence, boost employment and drive new revenue sources, according to the text of Senate Bill 135.
Agencies such as the state's Attorney General's Office, the Department of Financial Regulation and the Vermont Law School's Center for Legal Innovation would be involved if the bill is ultimately signed into law.
What's being done: According to the bill, legislators are pushing for the following action items:
- An assessment both the opportunities and risks around financial technologies like blockchain – to quote the text, lawmakers want to "respond to these developing opportunities and concerns on an informed basis".
- Concrete proposals for legislative and regulatory changes. The state has already moved in this direction in recent months, having passed a law last week that updates the state's money transmission laws to account for digital currencies.
- An approach that avoids derailing entrepreneurs – in the words of the bill's authors, the state should "not create avoidable risks for individuals and enterprises in the new e-economy".
Why this is big: Vermont has been laying the groundwork for an inclusive environment for digital currency and blockchain firms, even go so far as testing concepts for public sector applications. While the results haven't been completely positive, it nonetheless signals that Vermont is taking blockchain seriously.
It's also the latest signal that states are taking point on legislation around blockchain in the absence of concrete action out of the US Congress. Lawmakers in Hawaii and Maine, among others, are also pushing for studies of a similar nature.
Vermont State House via Shutterstock