A lawmaker in Florida has introduced a bill that, if passed, would create a legal foundation for blockchain data and smart contracts in the U.S. state.
House Bill 1357 introduces multiple stipulations that blockchain ledgers and smart contracts be treated as legally-binding methods of data storage – provided that such measures do not break any pre-existing laws or regulations.
Notably, the bill states that a "record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is in an electronic form and is an electronic record," and confirms that a signature recorded through a blockchain also qualifies as a valid electronic signature.
As a result of these qualifications, the bill outlines that, if a person uses a blockchain to secure interstate or foreign commercial ventures, it would not impact ownership rights. In other words, if someone used a blockchain ledger to store information, the bill would legally recognize that person's rights to that information.
Similarly, the bill states:
"A contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because: 1. An electronic record was used in the formation of the contract [and] 2. The contract contains a smart contract term."
If signed into law, the bill would make Florida the latest state to recognize blockchain records and smart contracts. Last year, Arizona passed a similar measure, with identical notes on confirming blockchain records as electronic records, as well as giving smart contracts legal force.
A slightly different bill in Vermont, when passed in 2016, allowed for the use of blockchain-based data as evidence in court.