California

BTC Foundation Calls to Halt ‘California BitLicense’ Onslaught

The Bitcoin Foundation has launched a fresh appeal to stop the latest and “even worse” BitLicense-style bill from becoming law in California.

Also read: Australia’s Postal Service Reveals 3 Blockchain Use-Cases

California Bill ‘Worse Than Before’

Bill AB-1326, which has become known as the ‘California BitLicense,’ passed the State Assembly and is now awaiting its Senate second reading today.

Colin-Gallagher
Colin Gallagher

According to opponents, AB-1326’s vague language and lack of foresight could severely limit California’s ability to support cryptocurrency startups. If signed into law, businesses dealing in Bitcoin and its ilk could find themselves subject to extensive paperwork, legislative hurdles and prohibitive just to operate.

“Guess what – IT’S BACK. It’s been changed. It’s even worse than before,” Bitcoin Foundation Education Committee chair Colin Gallagher wrote on the organization’s forum today regarding the Senate reading.

The Foundation had previously lobbied to have the bill revised when it was last presented in September 2015. Gallagher is now calling on members and the community at large to sign a petition opposing the bill in its current form.

“Unfortunately, the bill’s language is so vague that it’s unclear what companies even count as ‘virtual currency businesses,’” the petition page’s blurb reads.

So despite the bill’s carve-outs for smaller companies and software developers, the proposal threatens the future of virtual currency experimentation and innovation in the state.

Different Laws Mean ‘Confusion for Consumers’

Sacramento_Capitol_2013According to the petition, the power awarded to state administration is also disproportionate.

“The bill also gives incredible discretion to the Commission of Business Oversight to reject licenses for almost any reason, with no explanation and no administrative appeal. And it requires detailed and wholly irrelevant data from applicants as part of the licensing process,” it states.

The Foundation is not alone in its opposition lobbying. Both Taskforce and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have been actively encouraging revision of the legislation, calling on residents to contact political representatives on a constituent-by-constituent basis.

The bill has wider ramifications. As jurisdictions look to New York’s BitLicense scheme for inspiration, the increasing danger arises of a ‘patchwork’ situation in the US, with startups needing to navigate many separate applications – and pay the fees – in order to serve all US consumers.

“Having different regulations for cryptocurrencies in every state will create confusion for consumers,” the EFF stated last year.

It is not just cryptocurrency which has come under fire from Californian legislators. Decentralized services such as Uber are also being scrutinized, while at the same time startups in the state are striving to innovate in fintech.

Would you sign the petition to stop this bill from becoming law? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of wikipedia.org, bitcoinfoundation.orgproductiveflourishing.com