Washington State Recognizes Blockchain Technology into Law


Washington State Governor Jay Inslee approved SB 5638—an act “recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology”—into law. The Act promotes the development of blockchain, recognizes its use in commerce and digital signatures, and revises legislation to provide descriptions for the technology.

The fundamental idea of the Washington Electronic Authentication Act was to incite the use of “reliable electronic messages” in State commerce and assure that “electronic signatures are not denied legal recognition.” Rather than preventing businesses with outdated business requirements, such as the use of paper signatures, the Act prompted enterprises to leverage technology in organizing commerce.

The newly declared blockchain bill would expand the Electronic Authentication Act to incorporate “encouraging the development of distributed ledger technology” to the enactment.

The Washington Technology Industry Association also played a vital role in promoting the legislation. Members of the association include Vaughan Emery (former CEO of Atonomi), Arry Yu (former COO of Storm), Lawrence Lerner (CEO of Pithia, the former investment arm for RChain Coop), and John deVadoss (head of development at NEO), among others.

The new bill is expected to support better digital signature verification techniques by “promoting the development of distributed ledger technology.”

The bill distinguishes between blockchain per se and a Distributed Ledger Technology. It also seems to support blockchain as a tool that can be very effective for many industries other than payment processing and commercial services providers.

Till now it is not known when the law will be presented again. The committee must undertake the necessary analysis and research to support its legality and make the required recommendations in case it estimates it convenient. The state has a connection with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Altering an Old Authentication Act

The new bill was conceived as a revision of the “Washington Electronic Authentication Act,” an act declared in the year1994. The idea of the original bill had been to assure that “electronic signatures,” which was a relatively new happening then, were not denied legal recognition.

While there are several sections of the act that the new bill altered, the most important modification is the addition of the blockchain sector to the record of things protected by the law. The law also appended two new definitions – the words blockchain and distributed ledger technology were clearly articulated in the document.