Governor Jerry Brown, once known, affectionately on the Left and sarcastically on the Right as “ Governor Moonbeam” demonstrated that while he seems to have moved toward a conservative bent in his later years he still has a Progressive heart. Along with a slew of other Bills, including one to repeal the requirement that food handlers wear gloves, the Governor signed into affect Assembly Bill 129, which in effect repealed the law that made it illegal to recognize any but official currency.
The Bill first made clear that under Title 18, Section 474 of the U.S.C., and current California law that it was illegal for any individual or business to create a currency. But the new law goes further and says:
“...ensure that various forms of alternative currency such as digital currency, points, coupons, or other objects of monetary value do not violate the law when those methods are used for the purchase of goods and services or the transmission of payments.”
Instead of ignoring state and federal law, AB 129 simply creates an exception to the law. The Bill's affect is to repeal the part of state law that says: anything "but the lawful money of the United States." is illegal and federal law is quite specific on counterfeiting being applied to physical currencies and does not mention digital. The issue has not been raised either in the US Courts or Congress to date.
The sponsor of the Bill, Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) said essentially that the future was here and ignoring it was folly.
“In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon Coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives.”
This move should not be surprising to anyone familiar with California. The state is the nation's technology capital and home to many Bitcoin start-ups. But California has always been on the cutting edge of both technological and social change. The new law will probably have little or no immediate effect on the state's struggling economy but the potential for long term benefit as the leader in the acceptance movement is enormous. There are strong rumors of the NASDAQ will be introducing a new Bitcoin platform on the exchange, which will give Bitcoin is first opening on a regulated exchange and Bitcoin ATM;s and new merchants are popping up every day. When you consider that three years ago most people had never heard of cryptocurrencies.