New Vermont law boosts blockchain businesses

Local News
New law boosts blockchain businesses

Gov. Phil Scott joined South Burlington officials Tuesday to celebrate a new law that supports the development of blockchain businesses.

Two years in the making, Senate Bill 269 requires the state to do an official review of how blockchain technology can be used to create and file public documents like land records.

The blockchain is essentially a digital ledger. You can use a computer to write new information onto it, but previous information is code-protected and can’t be tampered with.

South Burlington City Hall seemed like a natural place to hold Tuesday’s ceremonial signing of SB 269. In February, a South Burlington woman used Propy, a Silicon Valley blockchain company, to record the deed when she sold her home. It was the first real estate deal anywhere in the U.S. to use blockchain.

“We saw on the news a Vermont law, the first one, in 2016, and we were trying to find out the right people to work with in Vermont,” Propy founder and CEO Natalia Karayaneva said.

South Burlington City Clerk Donna Kinville said that, after the transaction, “The phone calls started coming in from all over the country, from tech groups to real estate recorders around the country, to bankers, title insurers, everybody.”

The new law also creates and regulates two new types of businesses. One of them — blockchain-based limited liability companies — could allow for commercial server farms to develop in Vermont and mine for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

“This would allow them to have a more centralized governing structure, which would allow for investor protection, because there’s a central point of contact and there’s filings,” Jill Rickard of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation said.

By contrast, in New York, the city of Plattsburgh banned new cryptocurrency farms earlier this year out of concern over electrical costs. It was the first city in the U.S. to take that step.

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