As of January 1, smart contracts, contracts written on a blockchain, are now legal in Illinois, making them valid documents for securing deals and for use as evidence in court. The implementation will pave the way for further adoption among other states as the year progresses.
The Blockchain Technology Act states that blockchain-based smart contracts satisfy the law under certain circumstances. The same legal recognition enjoyed by paper contracts is extended to blockchain contracts and agreements. The law reads:
“A smart contract, record, or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because a blockchain was used to create, store, or verify the smart contract, record, or signature.”
This means that they’re recognized as legally binding, and can be justifiable as evidence in court as a visible alternative to paper-based records and statutory excused from local taxes.
Going further, the bill also provides definitions for cryptographic hashes, electronic records, and smart contracts. It all sum up that, smart contracts are now admissible in court, and they can be used to prove merit or to claim enforceability. This is undoubtedly a massive step towards further adoption.
While this may seem like a great legislative breakthrough for the US kicking off 2020; China is already a few steps ahead in this regard.
Back in 2018, the Internet Court of Hangzhou confirmed that a defendant could use Blockchain to prove innocence. China has set up three Internet courts in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou to handle Internet-related cases. The country’s 800 million Internet users and booming online business have led to rising number of Internet-related disputes.
Thanks to blockchain technology, the integral process of work circulating in cyberspace can be extracted for writers to use as evidence in court.