Technological Innovation and Economic Growth – A Legislative Toolkit for State Legislators

The year 2018 saw legislators in many states introduce legislation relating to blockchain, smart contracts, and distributed ledgertechnologies (DLT) in an effort to promote their use and encourage businesses related to these technologies to locate in their state.  This is an important development – policy makers at high levels of government are recognizing the potential of this technology and sorting out ways to promote it.  Some efforts, such as legislation coming from Wyoming, were quite progressive.  Others were very well-intentioned, but could have benefitted from additional guidance from the industry.

We have prepared this Toolkit as a resource for state legislators as they explore ways to encourage these industries to grow and bring economic benefits to states. In it, we explain the importance of blockchain and DLT and the economic and social benefits they provide; give an overview of legislative developments; explain legislative principles and options available to legislators; explore how blockchain technology can be used in various industries; provide an overview of smart contracts; and make available additional technical resources in our appendix and glossary.

Blockchain and DLT offer immense possibilities for business, government, and consumers.  These include the opportunity to spur economic growth and optimize cost efficiencies. It’s no wonder that policymakers are starting to realize the importance of blockchain technology, the commercial potential it brings, and the need to support its responsible growth.

Countries around the world are taking this opportunity to pass legislation and develop regulatory frameworks to encourage blockchain companies to relocate to their jurisdictions. 

While the United States has grown accustomed to technological progress, it does not automatically follow that America will maintain its preeminence in the blockchain sector. The United States needs to foster the same interest and energy it had for the development of the Internet and harness it for blockchain to ensure that it remains a leader in technological advancement.

This Toolkit serves as a resource to those policymakers who seek to encourage growth of the blockchain industry to ensure state economies and consumers can benefit from this transformative opportunity.  Thus, the principles and proposals offered in this Toolkit will assist legislators in fostering U.S. competitiveness through a balance of light-touch regulation and proactive laws enabling use of this important technology.