Ohio is close to becoming the latest state to offer legal support for blockchain-based business transactions, following a Wednesday vote by the state’s General Assembly.
The Ohio Senate on Wednesday night signed off on Senate Bill 220, cybersecurity legislation which Ohio House members had amended to include the blockchain language. The amendment updated existing Ohio law dealing with electronic transactions to also include blockchain-based transactions. It now will head to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.
The concept previously was introduced by State Sen. Matt Dolan in a standalone bill earlier this year. The bill was backed by Bernie Moreno, a Cleveland luxury-car dealer who recently has become an outspoken advocate of blockchain technology and research.
In a phone interview, Dolan said the amendment approved Wednesday accomplished what he had set out to do originally — start a conversation about the potential for blockchain.
“The private sector already is investing in blockchain. So what this bill does is give certainty to any transactions you’re engaging in in Ohio … in case there was any question about that,” he said.
Blockchain is a type of software that allows for records to be recorded securely in a constantly growing electronic list. While the technology is best known for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, backers say it also has potential applications in things like real-estate transactions, supply-chain management, medical-records storage. In West Virginia, and in a handful of Eastern European countries, government officials have explored using the technology for online voting.
Other states that have passed blockchain-focused legislation include Colorado, Delaware and Illinois.
Dolan’s office included a written statement from Moreno in a press release announcing the passage of the legislation on Wednesday night. Moreno is a leading advocate behind a nascent effort trying to set up Northeast Ohio as a center of blockchain-related research. He’s also an investor in a pair of blockchain-related companies.
“This is an exciting time in Ohio,” Moreno said. “We have an opportunity to be a leader in this new transformative technology.”
An earlier version of this story misstated the number of the bill containing the blockchain-related amendment.