Vermont Legislature Green Lights Blockchain Impact Group

Vermont has become the latest US state to approve new legislation for blockchain technology, joining the likes of Nevada in addressing the technology in statute for the first time.

But while the Nevada laws outlaw taxing blockchain transactions while confirming blockchain data as effectively legal writing, the Vermont bill only mandates further exploration of the underlying technologies, and their potential impact on jobs and revenue.

The bill was presented to create a study group that would look at the impact of the technology in these areas, with a report due for submission in November to reflect the group’s “findings and recommendations on the potential opportunities and risks presented by developments in financial technology."

With the blockchain at the centre of the study, it is hoped that the project will give Vermont legislators a better understanding of the opportunities tied up in distributed ledger technology, as well as pointing to some effective use cases or regulatory models that could be adopted at a state level.

The bill was signed into law by the state’s governor, Phil Scott, this week, after it earlier gained the approval of lawmakers back in March. The text of the legislation itself struck a positive note, reflecting the confidence of the Vermont legislature in the scope for blockchain development and implementation in the near future.

According to the text of the bill, the proposal is designed to help complement existing legislation in Vermont, while pointing to the many opportunities this type of technology could deliver.

"The existing Vermont legislation on blockchain technology and other aspects of e-finance have given Vermont the potential for leadership in this new era of innovation as well, with the possibility of expanded economic activity in the financial technology sector that would provide opportunities for employment, tax revenues, and other benefits."

The working group responsible for conducting the study includes representatives from a number of key stakeholders, including the Department for Financial Regulation, the Vermont Law School Center for Legal Innovation and the Attorney General’s Office.

With only a matter of months remaining to explore the topic, it remains to be seen whether the working group can come up with findings and recommendations to guide the next generation of blockchain legislation in Vermont.

Analysts and developers alike will watch with interest, with the eventual report likely to influence the position of blockchain technology in Vermont, as well as in other states and across the US and the wider world.