Three years and one veto after it was first proposed, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill into law Wednesday that aims to expand the state’s adoption of blockchain technology across various financial and industrial sectors.
The law saw Governor Inslee order the formation of the Washington Blockchain Work Group, which will “examine various potential applications for blockchain technology.” The Work Group will be composed of seven government officials and eight leaders of various trade associations across the state. It will study the practical applications of blockchain technology and present a report on its findings to Governor Inslee by Dec. 1, 2023.
Republican Senator Sharon Brown, who originally proposed the bill, stated in an announcement that Washington state is showing that it’s ready to utilize blockchain technology “for the benefit of all Washington residents, employers, and workers,” adding:
“This new law is a vital first step in creating an environment that is welcoming of new business prospects, eager to seek out new applications and willing to identify potential supply-chain management and STEM-education opportunities.”
This bill has had a turbulent history i the state’s legislature. It was first proposed in the Senate in 2019 but was eventually vetoed by the governor in April of 2020. State lawmakers then spent nearly two more years fine-tuning it.
The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) is a non-profit organization that supported the signing of the law. A representative from the WTIA updated Cointelegraph on April 1 in an email by calling the law an "important and foundational step to growing Washington's blockchain sector."
As one of the key organizations that supported the bill through the lawmaking process, the WTIA that the goal of the Work Group "is creating a strong, transparent regulatory framework that enables the dual goals of innovation and consumer protection."
Washington is the latest among a number of U.S. states, including New York, Texas and Wyoming, to have embraced blockchain technology or cryptocurrency at large.
Wyoming has gained a reputation as a forward-thinking regulatory haven for blockchain companies. It is the home of crypto exchange Kraken’s bank and has recognized decentralized autonomous authorities (DAOs) as legal entities.
New York state is one of the biggest sites for crypto mining in the United States, contributing 19.9% of the country’s total Bitcoin hash rate, according to CNBC.
Related: Is Austin the next US crypto hub? Officials approve blockchain resolutions
Texas is also a major hub for crypto mining with over 14% of the country’s hash rate due to its cheap electricity and abundance of land. The state is experimenting with data centers that have flexible power sources, which allow them to switch to renewable energy sources when the regular power grid is stressed.