The tiny state of Rhode Island has taken another tentative step towards becoming a blockchain-friendly jurisdiction. On March 11, two Republican state legislators in the Ocean States filed the “Economic Growth Blockchain Act,” a comprehensive bill that underscores Rhode Island's burgeoning status as the blockchain capital of North America. At a time when Mexico and Canada are taking concrete steps in the direction of encouraging blockchain innovation, the filing of this bill in Rhode Island gives hope to many American technology entrepreneurs.
Although the legislative proposal is more than 40 pages long, its preamble makes things very clear: Rhode Island has an opportunity to foster blockchain innovation for the sake of competitiveness. The bill plainly establishes that the state must make an effort to provide a regulatory environment where blockchain developers can feel comfortable. The bill also takes aim at the current legislation, which in many cases cannot be considered as being adequate for the purpose of spurring technology innovation.
An interesting portion of the aforementioned bill directs the state to implement a blockchain system for tasks such as corporate filings and registrations. Moreover, blockchain registrars may also be used to keep track of licensing in the medical and financial sectors of the Rhode Island economy. There is more than just efficiency at play here; it is also a matter of setting an example and telling blockchain developers that their work is appreciated in the state.
While Rhode Island is not the only state that wishes to foster blockchain innovation by means of legislation, it should be noted that many other states have actually hindered development by enacting rules that limit the use of cryptocurrencies. Rhode Island, on the other hand, has actually welcomed proposals for outside developers to pitch ideas as to how distributed ledgers could make state functions easier and more efficient.
The Department of Business Regulation in Rhode Island has been taking a close look at the various digital initiatives that countries such as Estonia have been implementing in recent years, and regulators are ready to adopt some of them. Under the current financial rules in Rhode Island, cryptocurrency transactions could easily be allowed, but the state wants to go much further than that.