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California embraces blockchain technology 

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | Business Law |

Blockchain as an innovative technology continues to develop its use cases, and as a player in the financial sector is here to stay. California businesses and law firms have been involved with this technology for over a decade.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 4 announced implementation of a regulatory framework to balance implementation of the technology with protection for users.

An executive order on cryptocurrency

In May 2022, Gov. Newson issued an executive order that aims to provide a protective framework for both consumers and businesses. A spokesperson for Newsom stated that “the order is designed to create a transparent and consistent business environment for companies operating in blockchain, including crypto assets and related financial technologies, that harmonizes federal and California laws, balances the benefits and risks to consumers, and incorporates California values, such as equity, inclusivity, and environmental protection.”

To quote Governor Newsom:  “California is a global hub of innovation, and we’re setting up the state for success with this emerging technology – spurring responsible innovation, protecting consumers, and leveraging this technology for the public good,” said Governor Newsom. “Too often government lags behind technological advancements, so we’re getting ahead of the curve on this, laying the foundation to allow for consumers and business to thrive.”

“A burgeoning industry, crypto assets and blockchain technology surpassed a $3 trillion market cap last November, up from $14 billion just five years prior. According to research, roughly 16 percent of adults have invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrencies. As of April 22, late-stage post-money valuations for venture capital-backed blockchain and crypto asset companies have increased on average 91 percent, to $3.95 billion, according to PitchBook data.

“ Under the executive order, the state has seven priorities:

Create a transparent and consistent business environment for companies operating in blockchain, including crypto assets and related financial technologies, that harmonizes federal and California laws, balances the benefits and risks to consumers, and incorporates California values such as equity, inclusivity, and environmental protection.

Collect feedback from a broad range of stakeholders, create a regulatory approach to crypto assets harmonized between federal and state authorities, explore and establish public-serving use cases (such as incorporating blockchain technologies into state operations), and build research and workforce pipelines.

Collect feedback from a broad range of stakeholders for potential blockchain applications and ventures, with particular attention to crypto assets and related financial technologies. Engagement should include technical experts, stakeholders interested in addressing inequities and environmental impact, companies both based in and outside California, and more.

Engage in a public process and exercise statutory authority to develop a comprehensive regulatory approach to crypto assets harmonized with the direction of federal regulations and guidance, creating consumer protections and solidifying California’s status as the premiere global location for responsible crypto asset companies to start and grow.

Engage in and encourage regulatory clarity via progress on the processes outlined in the federal executive order, with state agencies coordinating closely with the Washington, D.C. Office of the California Governor.

Explore opportunities to deploy blockchain technologies to address public-serving and emerging needs, working with the private sector, academia, and community to present pilots for innovative policies, programs, and solutions that demonstrate and showcase the potential of adopting blockchain technologies to respond to specific challenges identified by state agencies.

Identify opportunities to create a research and workforce environment to power innovation in blockchain technology, including crypto assets. The goals will be to expose students to emerging opportunities, power emerging industries, and help ensure economic benefits are experienced equitably.”

-Governor Newsom

To provide input, contact:  Governor Newsom

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice. Should further analysis or explanation of the subject matter be required, please contact the lawyer with whom you normally consult. No attorney-client relationship is created by this post.

For more information or advice concerning your corporate and regulatory compliance efforts, please contact Daniel TeJumson, or any member of the firm’s corporate and securities regulatory practice.