Is Nebraska looking to be a leader in emerging blockchain innovation? A few recently proposed laws suggest that it might be in the works. Public records reveal that on January third, state senator Carol Blood submitted three proposed laws, all of which could have profound effects on blockchain development in the state.
One proposed law is an amendment to Nebraska’s current money laundering regulations, which would modernize them to more accurately reflect the current state of cryptocurrency use. Cryptocurrencies are electronic digital currencies that derive their security and mobility from cryptographically secure blockchains. Such an amendment could bring greater legitimacy and legal clarity to the quickly-expanding world of cryptocurrency.
A second proposed law would legally define distributed ledger technology, the philosophical and technological core of blockchain, and would “prohibit cities and villages and counties from taxing or otherwise regulating” its use. As the many possible uses of blockchain are explored and developed, a strong legal foundation for the freedom of its use could be a powerful draw to people in the field, making Nebraska a hotbed for its innovation.
The third proposed law would “authorize and define smart contracts,” clarifying that smart contracts carry all the “validity and enforceability” of traditional contracts, and would “authorize use of distributed ledger technology in the Electronic Notary Public Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.” Smart contracts are a powerful tool for creating and automating transactions or other provisions of a contract utilizing blockchain ledgers. Having language on the books to ensure the state-sanctioned validity of their use in commerce could open the doors for a wide range of future applications
How lawmakers will respond to these proposed laws is, at this point, unknown. The proposals taken together, however, suggest that Nebraska might have a golden opportunity to take the lead in one of the most exciting new directions of global innovation.