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Florida, Nebraska Bills Would Open Door To Legally Binding EDCCs

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Bills introduced to state legislatures in Florida and Nebraska would allow for EDCCs, or smart contracts, to be legally enforceable. They would also define qualifying blockchain-mediated digital signatures as legitimate in the eyes of the law.

A bill introduced to the Florida House of Representatives on January 9 proposes to recognize EDCCs (popularly known as smart contracts) as legally binding under certain conditions. It would also acknowledge the legal legitimacy of digital signatures stored or transmitted via blockchain technology, among other provisions.

Sponsored by state representatives James Grant and Jackie Toledo, HB1357 states that “a contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because: 1. An electronic record was used in the formation of the contract. 2. The contract contains a smart contract term.” In other words, while the same set of conditions that already make a conventional contract legally binding must be met in order for an EDCC to be backed by the force of law, a contract is not to be treated as invalid simply by virtue of being entirely or partially comprised of one or more EDCCs.

A similar bill was submitted to the Nebraska Legislature by state Senator Carol Blood on January 3.

According to LB691, “A smart contract or a contract that contains a smart contract provision may exist in commerce. Such contract shall not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because such contract is a smart contract or contains a smart contract provision.”

Like Florida’s HB1357, it also provides for blockchain-mediated digital signatures. This would only apply when all parties to a contract have agreed to the use of such an electronic mechanism.

Language in LB691 explains, “It is the intent of the Legislature to promote economic growth and the efficient operation of business and government in Nebraska through the electronic exchange of information and legally binding electronic transactions.”

Adam Reese is a Los Angeles-based writer interested in technology, domestic and international politics, social issues, infrastructure and the arts. Adam is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether and BTC.

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