Jason Powell, a real estate broker and Democrat who has served in the Tennessee State Legislature for six years, became interested in cryptocurrencies in 2017 as the price of Bitcoin was spiking. Around the same time, he was hearing that an exciting new innovation called blockchain, the data structure for shared recordkeeping that underpins Bitcoin, was poised to create “incredible opportunities” in the real estate industry.

In January, he introduced a bill to help bring the burgeoning blockchain industry to Tennessee. The bill, which was signed by the governor on March 22nd, declares that records on a blockchain are considered electronic records, signatures using a blockchain are considered electronic signatures, and a contract will not be invalidated simply because it employs a so-called smart contract at some step of the process.

This was arguably an unnecessary law, akin to saying that a record created with Microsoft Word or Google Docs is still an electronic record, but Rep. Powell called it a “small but important step.” “It shows that our state is supportive of blockchain,” Rep.

Powell told me, “and we’ll do what we can to encourage and promote businesses who are already in this space or are interested in it to set up shop here or continue to thrive.” At least seven states have enacted or adopted laws that reference blockchain: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming. (Separately, eight states have amended their money transmitter laws, which usually specify strict requirements for companies like Western Union that deal with money transfers, to address cryptocurrencies as of March 1st, 2018.) The blockchain laws range from the creation of task forces to study the technology to tautologies like Tennessee’s to more substantive initiatives like Wyoming’s decree that some cryptocurrencies issued on a blockchain will not be regulated under state securities law.

But they all share a common goal: encouraging blockchain companies to bring their high-paying jobs to the state. According to the blockchain and cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk, more than $2.4 billion in venture capital has poured into blockchain companies since 2012. Read more from theverge.com…

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