Slew Of Crypto Laws Submitted To NY Assembly

On November 27, New York Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D) introduced four bills relating to blockchain technology.  

A08780 would define signatures, records, and contracts “secured through blockchain technology” as electronic forms of these entities. In effect, the bill seeks the recognition of such blockchain-backed entities’ legitimacy, in addition to the electronic signatures, records, and contracts that have already been legitimized by law. It also states that “smart contracts may exist in commerce,” such that “a contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term.”

A08783 proposes the creation of a digital currency taskforce, which would have until the first day of 2019 to compose and submit a report to the state’s governor and legislature detailing the “potential effects of the widespread implementation of digital currencies on financial markets.” The taskforce’s staff would be appointed by the governor; the temporary senate president; the superintendent of the Department of Financial Services; and the speaker, majority leader, and minority leader of the Assembly. The body would “collaborate with state and city of New York agencies including, but not limited to, the department of taxation and finance and the department of finance of the city of New York.”

A08792 would direct the New York State Board of Elections, with the help of the Office of Information Technology Services, to “study and evaluate the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results,” eventually presenting a report to the state’s governor and legislature. In the process of preparing the document, the board would be obliged to consult with experts in the fields of blockchain technology, voter fraud, cybersecurity, voter records, and election results.

The last of the blockchain bills was A08793. If passed, it will affect the formation of a taskforce charged with delivering a report on the “feasibility, economic impacts and effectiveness of the implementation of blockchain technology in state record keeping, information storage, and service delivery” to the governor, Assembly speaker, and temporary senate president by the first day of 2019. Its findings should also include “an analysis of different types of blockchain technology, and the feasibility of implementing each type.” This group’s members would be appointed by the same actors charged with selecting the staff of the research unit called for in A08783, as well as by the Chief Information Officer of the Office of Information Technology Services.

New York’s so-called BitLicense program makes it one of few states that require legal compliance from firms offering certain types of cryptocurrency services.

On October 6, Vanel, who represents the 33rd Assembly district of Queens, published a webisode of his “Clyde’s Corner” series in which he discusses bitcoin and bitcoin ATMs.