Nebraska Legislature Takes Competitive Approach To Emerging Blockchain Technology

The “Great Bitcoin Exodus” of New York shows the negative impact aggressive and excessive regulation on an emerging technology can have on a state. Not only were brick and mortar businesses leaving New York; access to services from outside companies such as Kraken, a San Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange, were cut off for New York residents. In both cases, the regulatory burden imposed by the “BitLicense” simply exceeded the cost of doing business.

While opponents to the four bills already proposed this year in the Nebraska State Legislature dealing with blockchain-based technology certainly exist, in comparison to the approach taken by New York, lawmakers in Nebraska appear intent on long-term cooperation and vitalization for this emerging technology within their state.

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Senator Carol Blood, who introduced three of the four bills, stated to Silicon Prairie News:

My intent is to lead the pack over other states scrambling to do the same type of legislation and put Nebraska on the map as a state that is open for business here in the Silicon Prairie

Two of Senator Blood’s bills, LB 691 and LB 695, were both taken up on hearings held February 7th by the Judiciary Committee. LB 691 lays out an approach for taking on crimes such as human trafficking and money laundering committed with cryptocurrencies. LB 695, will define and authorize the use of smart contracts in the state.

Her third bill, LB 694, which would prohibit ‘cities, villages and counties’ from taxing or regulating distributed ledger technology, is scheduled for a public hearing before the Government, Military, and Veteran’s Affairs Committee on Wednesday, February 21st.

Senator Paul Schumacher crafted the fourth bill introduced this year. LB 987 seeks to adopt statutory framework based on the work of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) as outlined in the bill’s Statement of Intent.  

As reported by the Omaha World-Herald, of the four bills, LB 691 and LB 987 received the greatest opposition from industry leaders in distributed ledger technology, citing the regulatory outcomes specifically in New York. Fortunately for them, Sen. Schumacher’s LB 691 is not expected to get out of committee and Sen. Blood has said she plans to make LB 695 her priority and will no longer pursue LB 691.


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