Newsom Signs Blockchain Executive Order

Published On: May 4, 2022

Crypto assets and blockchain technology make up $3 trillion on the global market. Around 16 percent of adults have invested in or traded cryptocurrency. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom is bringing some regulation to a burgeoning, wide-open market. On May 4, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order that will begin to create a regulatory approach that will foster industry and workforce that utilizes blockchain technology in California. 

“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.”

The state has identified seven major priorities in the executive order. Within those directives, there is an emphasis on “California values” like equity, inclusivity, and environmental protection. 

The state also has the desire to “exercise statutory authority,” that will protect consumers (balancing risks and benefits). 

Perhaps the most intriguing priority is to “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.”

The opportunity to capitalize on the untapped potential of an emerging sector is spelled out explicitly, but most of the order is concerned with regulation. 

According to the executive order itself, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation will assume a host of responsibilities, including publishing consumer protection principles, collect and review consumer complaints, and work in tandem with law enforcement agencies to address criminal activity. 

Gov. Newsom’s executive order follows two months after President Biden’s March 9 executive order on “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.”  

 

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org