California Legislature Passes Blockchain Working Group Bill

Journalist:
David Hundeyin @DavidHundeyin
August 31, 2018

The California Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 2658, which provides a legal framework for the recognition of blockchain technology in the state’s insurance code.

Introduced by Democrat Ian Calderon, the bill sought to amend Sections 1624.5, 1633.2, and 1633.75 of the Civil Code, Section 25612.5 of the Corporations Code, Section 16.5 of the Government Code, and Section 38.6 of the Insurance Code, with relation to blockchain technology, electronic signatures, and smart contracts.

New Inclusions and Definitions

Under previously-existing California law, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act offered legal protection and enforceability to the use of electronic signatures in creating contracts, specifying that in the events of a requirement for writing or a signature, an electronic record or signature should suffice.

No mention was made, however, of electronic records or signatures secured using blockchain technology, which was a point of legal ambiguity for blockchain-based businesses. The new bill expands the definition of “contract” under California law to include “smart contract,” which provides legal basis for use of blockchain-based electronic signatures in sealing contracts.

It also specifies that any individual doing interstate or foreign commerce using blockchain technology to secure information they own or have rights to has access to the same ownership and usage rights in California.

Under the bill, Section 1633.2 of the Civil Code is amended to include a legal definition of blockchain technology, and Clause “e” in the section is amended to read as follows:

“‘Contract’ means the total legal obligation resulting from the parties’ agreement as affected by this title and other applicable law. ‘Contract’ includes a smart contract.”

Clause “h” is also amended to read as follows:

“‘Electronic record’ means a record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means. A record that is secured through blockchain technology is an electronic record.”

Clause “i” is amended to include the sentence: “A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is an electronic signature.” Clause “p” is also added to give a legal definition of “smart contract” under California law.

It reads:

“‘Smart contract’ is an event-driven program that runs on a distributed, decentralized, shared, and replicated ledger that can take custody over, and instruct transfer of, assets on that ledger.”

In February, CCN reported about Assembly Member Calderon’s efforts to advance blockchain use for electronic signatures and smart contracts in the state. The passing of bill 2658 represents a major coup for Calderon, who at age 29 became the first millennial to be elected to the state legislature.

In April, CCN also reported that California Senator Bob Hertzberg launched bill SB 838 to allow blockchain technology into formal documentation known as a corporation’s articles of incorporation throughout the state.

Images from Shutterstock

Last modified (UTC): August 30, 2018 23:18

Tags: california
David Hundeyin @DavidHundeyin

I am a busy Nigerian writer, journalist and writer with an interest in tech and finance. When I'm not contributing to CCN and traveling around Africa, you can catch me contributing to CNN Africa, or in the writers room at 'The Other News', Nigeria's weekly answer to 'The Daily Show' with nearly 2 million viewers. My work on 'The Other News' was featured in the New Yorker Magazine, and that was then cited in the Washington Post so I'm not sure that counts as a feature but I'll definitely mention it too! I have been nominated by the US State Department to take part in the 2019 Edward R. Murrow Program for journalists under the International Visitors Leadership Program. I also like hamsters. You can reach me on Twitter at _David_Hundeyin