The steady progress being made in the implementation of blockchain and distributed ledger technology within various industries has gotten the attention of lawmakers and regulators with a multitude of bills coming up for votes this year.
The State of Washington 2019 Senate Bill 5638: Recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology was introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown on 1/25/19 and signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on 4/26/19 with the official text of ’An electronic record may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is generated, communicated, received, or stored using distributed ledger technology’. In, addition the Act sets out the intent of the legislature to ‘encourage the development of distributed ledger technology ‘ and legally defines ‘Blockchain’, ‘Distributed ledger technology’ and ‘Electronic record’. Kudos to Washington State.
Other States getting ahead of the game include the State of Ohio’s 133rd General Assembly, where Rep. Rick Carfanga introduced on 4/24/19 a House Bill 220 for a revised code to allow a governmental entity to utilize distributed ledger technology, including blockchain; and the State of Tennessee with Gov. Bill Haslam signing Senate Bill 1662 on 3/22/18 amending Tennessee Code relative to electronic transactions with the official text of ‘Business and Commerce – As enacted, recognizes the legal authority to use distributed ledger technology and smart contracts in conducting electronic transactions; protects ownership rights of certain information secured by distributed ledger technology. – Amends TCA Title 12; Title 47; Title 48; Title 61 and Title 66’. Nice going Tennessee – leading the way for innovation.
Not to be left out, European Governments are busy with the Italian Senate approving a bill defining distributed ledger technologies on 1/23/19 and the House of Representatives following suit with approval in February; the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies passed Bill 7363 on 2/14/19 providing a legal framework for securities issued over blockchains.
Turning Real Estate into a digital asset that is easily traded is the dream of many with a recent venture of Intercontinental Exchange called Bakkt bringing that dream a step closer to reality. Bakkt is making great strides towards securitizing tokens and bringing institutional financial exchange power to the cryptocurrency market. With lofty goals of offering a federally regulated market for bitcoin, this is a player to watch.
Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation in New York City, a company that operates as a third party in the business of securities trading, has plans to begin recording $11 trillion worth of credit default swaps in late 2018.
Fund manager Mark Yusko, chief executive and chief investment officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management, recently announced his firm’s partnership with Bitwise, a manager that offers cryptocurrency indexes and index funds, to launch the Digital Asset Index Fund. The fund’s minimum investment is $50,000. It tracks a new index: the Morgan Creek Bitwise Digital Asset Index (MCBDAI).
Decentralized Margin Trading and Lending platforms utilizing blockchain tech are starting to make entrances into the market with offerings from the bZx and MakerDAO communities already generating buzz.
Enabling real estate related smart contracts utilizing a blockchain will change the nature of escrow, contracts, title, deeds and other property records lessening the reliance on traditional closing services and hopefully provide needed monetary relief at the closing table. A daunting task indeed. Thankfully, the challenge has been taken up by several players in the emerging distributed ledger tech field with new entrants seeming to pop up every other week.
An interesting use case was featured in a recent story on BitcoinMagazine.com about a New York based company doing real estate commission splits utilizing the Zap.org smart contract platform. Baby steps, but promising.
Another exciting player in the realty blockchain business is PROPY with their offering of international properties being purchased and sold integrating blockchain tech to secure the transaction and facilitate cross-border payments.
We recommend Coinbase for your first foray into a Cryptocurrency Exchange with the added bonus and caveat that they have an affiliate link offering free bitcoin to both parties for referrals. Our first trades on their platform went smoothly and the smartphone apps they offer are easy to use and navigate. At the time of this writing, Coinbase had 5 different cryptocurrencies trading that included Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin with rumors of more alt coins coming to the platform soon. To get started trading requires linking a bank account or debit card. Not all financial institutions are keen on losing customers to cryptocurrency and some have been known to shut user accounts and deny access to crypto-exchanges. To avoid this, we decided to set up a fee free online banking account with the added benefit of lowering some transaction fees that come with moving money around. After looking at our options, we chose online banker SIMPLE due to many factors including no fees, ATM access and their easy to use Mobile Apps; they also offer a $20 referral to both parties for the first purchase made on their debit card. One more service we are in the process of evaluating is the Robinhood investment platform that is now offering trading in cryptocurrencies. In addition to offering a free stock for signups on referral, they have a sleek looking smartphone app that makes investing in stocks and cryptocurrency seem less intimidating somehow.