Washington State Senate Unanimously Passes Blockchain Bill
This morning’s passage of Washington State’s new Blockchain Bill SB 5638 by a unanimous vote indicates legislators are committed to making up for past missteps and supporting blockchain and distributed ledger technology innovation in Washington State. The writing has been on the wall since last year when Washington regulators took part in a Q&A session with industry leaders covered extensively by GeekWire. Much must be said of State Senator Reuven Carlyle’s leadership on the issue - he has been a regular speaker and attendee at Washington Blockchain events and his leadership of the the Energy, Technology, and Environment committee has stood out with his strong championing of the potential of Washington’s blockchain community.
With the speedy and opposition free passage of SB 5638 through the Senate, the State House seems primed to pass the legislation themselves and correct the large regulatory mistake that Washington State made in classifying blockchain service providers as money transmitters require onerous licensing and centralized storage of information. This decision led some blockchain innovators such as ShapeShift to leave the state and drastically damaged the state’s reputation as a center of blockchain development despite the presence of two different blockchain ecosystems Rchain and Dragonchain in the region.In order to fix that regulatory misstep and allow for continued expansion in fintech innovation in Washington the bill must now make its way through the State House in order to reach the governor’s desk and be signed into law.
With unanimous bipartisan support in the State Senate for this technical bill, the likelihood of the bill’s safe passage through the State House is high. Even just the existence of the bill is a good sign for Washington’s local blockchain community - it demonstrates that legislators are paying attention and beginning to respond to the specific concerns of the community. If we can continue to build a dialogue with key legislators the opportunity is there for further growth in fintech evolution.