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Washington State Recognizes Distributed Ledger Technology

by Meredith Loughran

On April 26, 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into law, SB 5638, an act that defines blockchain and recognizes “the validity of distributed ledger technology.” This “blockchain bill,” sponsored by Senators Brown, Rivers, Becker, and Short, amends legislation so that new technology can be leveraged to help streamline commerce and business development. This updates archaic requirements like paper signatures for legal documents and further pushes mainstream adoption of secure and decentralized initiatives.

The last time the Washington Electronic Authentication Act was updated was May 13, 1999. The current act now gives the following definition for blockchain and distributed ledger technology: “Blockchain” means a cryptographically secured, chronological, and decentralized consensus ledger or consensus database maintained via internet, peer-to-peer network, or other similar interaction. “Distributed ledger technology” means any distributed ledger protocol and supporting infrastructure, including blockchain, that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared, and replicated ledger. Additionally, it defines digital signature violations.

Lobbying for change was the Washington Technology Industry Association who are a unifying voice for the technology community in Washington; their goal to consolidate the power of member companies to solve business problems. Their members include representatives from Lightning Network, BlockGen, and esteemed board members who include Shannon Jurdana, President and CEO of Vimly and Cefe Quesado, Global Head of IT Applications for Russell Investments.

For the benefits of blockchain and distributed ledger technology to really take hold, more education and advocacy is necessary. We can take a chapter from Washington State’s example and contact our legislators to be more secure and efficient.

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