Rep. David Schweikert, a Republican congressperson from Arizona, has referred a new bill to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that, if passed, would recognize digital signatures on the blockchain as enforceable by law.
It has been reported that this is particularly important for the enforceability of smart contracts, which automate transactions or other contractual obligations according to binding, pre-specified rules.
However, smart-contract advocates have long used the adage “Code is law,” and the new bill, if approved, could make this a statutory reality.
According to public records, the bill was referred to the committee on Friday.
A summary of the bill, H.R. 8524, outlines its aims as follows:
“To amend the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act to clarify the applicability of such Act to electronic records, electronic signatures, and smart contracts created, stored, or secured on or through a blockchain, to provide uniform national standards regarding the legal effect, validity, and enforceability of such records, signatures, and contracts, and for other purposes.”
Likewise, Schweikert’s co-sponsor on the bill is Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat from Florida, who has a long track record of developing and helping to pass blockchain-related legislation. This includes, most recently, updating the Consumer Safety Technology Act to include the Digital Taxonomy Act and the Blockchain Innovation Act.
According to the report, on September 24, Schweikert introduced the Digital Commodity Exchange Act of 2020. The legislation would create a single, opt-in national regulatory framework for digital commodity trading platforms under the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Again, Soto is a co-sponsor, alongside Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican from Texas; Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota; Rep. Dusty Johnson, a Republican from South Dakota; and Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican from Georgia.
Thus, the congress people are in tune with similar developments in other countries.