In the late ’90s, Many states, including California, passed the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which allowed public and private sectors to use both electronic and digital signatures. California had already enacted a law that regulated the use of “digital signatures” for government transactions. Until Assembly bill 2296 in 2016 expediently solved the problem allowing California government agencies to use electronic records, the laws conflicted.
With the introduction of Assembly Bill 2658 earlier in 2018, Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) is attempting to further streamline the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. Calderon is trying to update California’s version of UETA with particular revisions, including amendments of terms such as:
- electronic record
- electronic signature
- electronic contract
- smart contract
The definition of “electronic” record and “electronic signature” would be expanded to encompass those secured via the blockchain. The legal definition of “contract” would be expanded to encompass a smart contract.
Of equal significance is the legislation’s recognition, consideration, and definition of blockchain technology, which is another method by which a record or signature may be secured. Under AB 2658′s revisions, data ownership or use would extend to someone performing interstate or foreign commerce on the blockchain in California “with respect to that information as before the person secured the information using blockchain technology.”
AB 2658 defines “blockchain technology” as
“distributed ledger technology that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared, and reciprocal ledger, that may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by tokenized crypto economics or tokenless. The data on the ledger is protected with cryptography, is immutable, is auditable, and provides an uncensored truth.”
AB 2658 seeks to amend the Electronic Transactions Act that specifies a record or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form and that a contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation.
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