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California Takes ‘First Step’ Toward Embracing Blockchain With New Bill


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A California Senator’s blockchain bill is advancing in the State Legislature.

Senator Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat representing the San Fernando Valley, has introduced a bill that would allow blockchain technology into formal documentation known as a corporation’s articles of incorporation throughout the state of California. Senator Hertzberg presented the bill, dubbed SB 838, to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee in recent days, which he says is a “first step” to unveil the decentralized technology to the state.

“The world around us is changing, and government must adapt with these rapidly evolving times. California needs to continue our legacy of taking on new and developing technologies, especially ones like blockchain, which is being embraced worldwide and presents a strong level of security that is resistant to hacking,” said Senator Hertzberg in a press release.

SB 838 is designed to introduce cryptography-fueled security into the issuance and transfer of corporate share certificates, which would be “recorded and kept on or by means of blockchain technology or one or more distributed electronic networks, as specified,” according to the bill text.

In addition to issuance and transfers, the bill extends to “the names of all of the corporation’s stockholders of record, the address and number of shares registered in the name of each of those stockholders.”

Senator Hertzberg not only introduced the bill but he is also educating his peers about the public ledger, pointing out that 11 of Forbes’ Fintech 50 for 2018 rely on the blockchain or are somehow engaged with cryptocurrencies. He explained that there are “multitude” of other use cases for the blockchain beyond volatile cryptocurrencies and suggested applications such as voting and land titles. Incidentally, SB 838 covers a public or private ledger that may be “driven by tokenized crypto economics or tokenless.”

Perhaps the bill could pave the way for businesses to access blockchains like JPMorgan’s Quorum project, which is said to be on the block for wider access. Senator Hertzberg offers more local examples, such as UCLA and Berkeley having developed blockchain labs to promote innovation within the blockchain and cryptocurrency communities.

Winning Over the West

While Senator Hertzberg’s bill is unique and targets specific functions within financial services, California would be joining other Western states that are also adopting blockchain technology. Arizona’s blockchain bill recently became law, validating data stored and shared among corporations on the blockchain. Meanwhile, Colorado and Wyoming have also made strides.

Next up, SB 838 will be presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee in May.

California Capitol image from Shutterstock.

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