A new bill submitted to the Rhode Island state legislature aims to boost the state’s economy by opening up “ocean state” to blockchain creators.
The bill, called the Rhode Island Blockchain Economic Growth Act, was introduced February 8 by Republican representatives David Bliss and Blake Felipe. The bill states that the proposed creation of a regulatory sandbox in Rhode Island was driven by the need to compete in the twenty-first century economy:
“ Rhode Island realizes that to compete in the twenty-first century economy, Rhode Island must offer one of the best business environments in the United States for blockchain and technology innovators, and it must offer a comprehensive regulatory technology sand environment for these innovators in order to develop the next generation of digital products and services in Rhode Island “.
In addition to creating a more welcoming environment for emerging blockchain companies, the bill also seeks to establish regulations for the sale of cannabis and aims to reform banking infrastructure that has so far refused to be associated with crypto or hemp products.
According to his summary, the bill will “lay down regulations for the sale of cannabis, regulate virtual and digital assets and establish deposit banks for these purposes.”
By referring to blockchain technology specifically, the bill indicates the benefit of a blockchain record-keeping system nationwide:
“The state understands the public-private partnership developing an immutable blockchain filing system between agencies, industry and operation is vital and redeveloping investment in areas of opportunity that must install, maintain and organize within the blockchain records system across the country is beneficial.”
The document states that laws must be updated to keep pace with technological innovations, noting that current laws were formulated long before cryptocurrencies and blockchain emerged.
The sudden emergence of state legal cannabis in the same cryptocurrency has led banks to keep their doors closed to both areas, largely due to concerns about illegality at the federal level, and a general lack of regulatory guidance. The bill also aims to create a banking system more friendly to hemp and cryptocurrencies.
“The rapid innovation of blockchain technology, including the increasing use of virtual currency and other digital assets, has left many blockchain innovators unable to access secure and reliable banking services, hindering the development of blockchain services and products in the marketplace.”