U.S. House of Representatives Proposes Legal Definition for ‘Blockchain’

blockchain technology definition house of representatives

A bill presented to the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to establish a legal definition for blockchain, as part of measures to create a working group to study the technology further.

With proposals that seek to establish a “consensus-based definition of blockchain,” bill H.R. 6913 was presented this week by Representatives Doris Matsui and Brett Guthrie, members of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Communications and Technology and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection.

To be known as the Blockchain Promotion Act of 2018, the statute would provide the necessary common definition for government agencies to work from, as well as legislating for ongoing research and development efforts around the technology.

Discussing how blockchain technology is already transforming the global economy, Matsui said the bipartisan bill would help government leverage the benefits of this emerging technology.

Opportunities to deploy blockchain technology ranges from greatly increased transparency, efficiencies and security in supply chains to more opportunistically managing access to spectrum. This bipartisan bill will bring a broad group of stakeholders together to develop a common definition of blockchain, and, perhaps even more importantly, recommend opportunities to leverage the technology to promote new innovations.”

Her comments were echoed by co-sponsor Guthrie, who said that while government must establish how best to implement blockchain solutions, blockchain “can be a great resource for innovation and technology” for the future.

The bill comes at a time of increasing mainstream support for blockchain, including at the highest levels of government in the U.S. The representatives become the latest in a series of lawmakers to propose similar legislation around the technology, with a view to fostering the development of blockchain laws and infrastructure.

Over the last few weeks, Congressman Tom Emmer has brought forward three other bills aimed at improving conditions for blockchain, although these have all focused more specifically on cryptocurrencies, rather than the technology more broadly.

The move coincides with warming attitudes on Wall Street toward cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, with an increasing number of institutions moving toward investing in crypto, or developing their own blockchain IP.

The bill will now progress through the legislative process, before a decision on whether or not to pass the measures into law.