Tennessee Establishes Legal Authority Of Blockchain Technology, Smart Contracts

On Thursday, Tennessee became the latest state to create a legal foundation for the usage of blockchain technology and “smart contracts.”

  • On March 22, 2018, Republican governor Bill Haslam signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 1662, which amended the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 47, Chapter 10. Effective immediately, the law created legal footing for blockchain technology and “smart contracts” (more accurately called executable distributed code contracts).

    According to the new law, a blockchain-based signature is legally considered an electronic signature. Additionally, a blockchain-based record or contract is legally considered an electronic record.

    Importantly, the Tennessee law explicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of smart contracts. SB1662 explains, “No contract relating to a transaction shall be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term.”

    Previously, SB1662 passed unanimously in the Tennessee House and Senate.

    With the new law, Tennessee joins Wyoming in accepting blockchain-based electronic records for legal purposes. In New York, Assembly Bill 8780 would establish a similar measure, but was referred to the standing committee on governmental operations on January 3, 2018. There hasn’t been an update on the bill since then.

    In January, ETHNews reported on Tennessee’s House Bill (HB) 2093, which would amend Tennessee Code Title 8 to prohibit “the trustees of any defined contribution plan or related investment vehicle established as a health benefit by the state insurance company from investing in any cryptocurrency.” This bill was also passed on Thursday by the Tennessee Senate. 

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