Finance, Fintech, News

Blockchain Legislation in Nevada

Harry Wise

Marco Rossi, Writer

Blockchain tech companies and cryptocurrency exchange are not the niche reality we have learned to know in the past years.

They operate on such a large scale that the ‘decentralised’ – whatever it means – punk approach of Satoshi Nakamoto cannot be applied anymore.

States and political central entities are more and more enmeshed with this virtual economic landscape and are trying to hold a grasp on it, while skeptically studying it at the same time.

It is in the United States that we have the first approaches of a governmental entity to regulate the traffic of virtual currencies, with several bills turned into laws in the state of Nevada.

The senate bills, signed by Governor Steve Sisolak, aim at the legal definition and regulation of the digital scene of the state, in a move that already influenced other states as California, Oklahoma, and Hawaii:

  • SB161 creates a regulatory sandbox for emerging companies through a program in the Department of Business and Industry;
  • SB162 argues a definition for “public blockchain” and requires government agencies to accept electronically certified documents;
  • SB163 authorises companies to store and maintain records on a blockchain;
  • SB164 defines virtual currencies as intangible personal property.

The bills were welcomed by the Nevada Technology Association. In a statement, the President of the association Jackie Morck has said that the Association is “thrilled to see that Nevada continues to take a thoughtful approach to technology. By supporting light-touch legislation, our state is clearly committed to supporting innovation and investment. At the same time, the creation of the legislative Tech Caucus demonstrates that we’re serious about staying on the leading edge of emerging technologies. We’re excited to be a partner in building the new Nevada.”

However, all that glitters ain’t gold. Not everyone agrees with this governmental involvement in the free market of the of cryptos.

Particularly, another bill proposed in Nevada, the SB195 of March 12 has sparked not few criticisms from blockchain savvies and companies.

The bill foresees several uniform standards to the cryptocurrency industry and requires crypto-related businesses – as exchange platforms – to register with the state’s Department of Business and Industry.

The same Nevada Technology Association has stated that the bill was premature and might represent a competitive disadvantage.

Moreover, although the bill was meant as a measure to foster cooperation between governmental institutions and tech companies, Matt Digesti, vice president of government affairs and strategic initiatives at Blockchains LLC, said that no blockchain-related companies were consulted at the hearing.

In a any case, it is impossible for a technology affecting society at such a large scale not to be the target of stronger governmental regulations.

The history of the relationship between Nevada and its fintech and blockchain scene started some years ago and represents one of the first examples of a joint effort between the political sphere and the entrepreneurial spirit of the state.

Surely, in the following years, many will follow. Whether they will allow more freedom to – or force a tighter grasp on – companies is something we’ll have to wait and see.

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