Iowa House approves bill to legally recognize blockchain smart contracts

The 29th. In March, the Iowa House of Representatives approved a bill to give legal recognition to transactions and records created through blockchain-based smart contracts. The bill – SF541 – passed the Senate earlier this month.

Under the new bill, smart contracts would have the same legal status as regular contracts, and distributed recording technology would be treated as a secure electronic data store. With respect to smart contracts, the bill states

The bill provides that a contract cannot be void or unenforceable merely because it is a smart contract or contains a smart contract clause.

The bill states that a registration of rights or property will not be invalidated by a transfer via blockchain unless the transaction was specifically for the purpose of transferring the rights in question.

A person who uses distributed ledger technology in interstate or foreign commerce to secure information that it owns or has the right to use retains the same ownership or use rights to the information as it did before the distributed ledger technology secured the information, the bill states, with an additional caveat, unless there are conditions attached to the transaction that expressly prohibit the use of the distributed ledger technology.

The uncontested bill was introduced on 29. March passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 94-0. Earlier this month, the bill passed the Senate with the same ease by a vote of 47-0.

Democratic Representative Steve Hansen suggested that implementation of the bill would eventually lead to broader regulation of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC), according to Iowa’s The Gazette. Republican Rep. Jeff Shipley said the bill is more about definitions than rules, adding that he thinks bitcoin would also fall under those definitions.

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