In brief

  • Iowa has passed legislation that recognizes the use of blockchain and smart contracts in providing transaction records.
  • Other states like Wyoming and Texas are also trying to capture the crypto industry in legislation.

The Iowa House of Representatives has unanimously approved legislation that would give legal recognition to electronic records, signatures, and contracts, and would permit the use of distributed ledger technology (blockchain technology) and smart contracts in providing records of transactions. 

House File 848 and Senate File 541 passed the House on March 29, per local outlet The Gazette. House File 848 (HF 848) intends to make broadband more available, and Senate File 541 (SF 541) relates to the use of distributed ledger technology and smart contracts. 

The bill was introduced on March 4, and passed the Iowa Senate on March 9 with a vote of 47 yeas and 0 nays. Several weeks later on March 29, the bill passed the Iowa House of Representatives with a majority of 94 yeas against 0 nays. 

What does this mean for Iowa’s crypto industry? 

SF 541 has prompted a wider debate about the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Iowa. 

Representative Steve Hansen, D-Sioux City, reportedly suggested the bill would regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, while representative Liz Bennet, D-Cedar Rapids, said SF 541 was “a great bill to take Iowa forward.” Representative Jeff Shiply, R-Birmingham, described the bill as offering more of a definition than a regulation. 

Representative Hansen also added that there is widespread concern surrounding the cryptocurrency industry, including risks like tax avoidance and fraud. According to The Gazette, he predicted Iowa’s lawmakers would have to revisit this topic.

In fact, Iowa has already wrestled with the question of regulating the crypto industry with House Bill 255, introduced in 2019 to address the taxation of virtual currencies. 

Iowa’s lawmakers also introduced a bill prohibiting the state and political subdivisions of the state from accepting payment in the form of virtual currency.

U.S. States propose crypto legislation

Iowa is not the only American state dealing with proposed cryptocurrency regulations. In Wyoming, Senate Committee members approved a bill earlier this month that would allow decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) to incorporate in the state. To become law, bills have to pass votes in the Senate and the House. 

Texas is also addressing legislation around the crypto industry. Introduced earlier this month, House Bill 4474 aims to adapt existing legislation to emerging technologies like blockchain and digital assets.