California governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that will make it acceptable to keep certain legally required corporate records and communications on a blockchain. According to the bill's summary, the new law would allow information regarding securities "to be recorded and kept on or by means of blockchain technology."
The types of information that will be allowed are lists of shareholders, including addresses and holdings of those shareholders, "information required to be included on stock certificates," and records of transfers of stock.
The bill does have some serious limitations, however, as the legal change will not apply to corporations that have outstanding securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the NYSE Amex, the NASDAQ Global Market, or the NASDAQ Capital Market.
A few other states have introduced bills intended to streamline corporate governance and communication through the use of a blockchain, but few have actually become law. In April, two bills were introduced in the New Jersey legislature – S2432 and AB3768. Those bills would have allowed corporations to transmit required information to shareholders – including minutes of meetings and corporate balance sheets – via a blockchain. Both failed to advance.
However, Delaware, apparently attempting to maintain its preeminent position as the home of US corporations, amended its limited partnership and LLC laws in July to allow for corporate communications via blockchain. Arizona passed a similar law this year.