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February 12, 2016

One-Sentence Bill Legalizes Bitcoin Use in California


Brown, speaking at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., in March. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Using bitcoins for transactions was illegal in California until this weekend, until Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that repealed a state law banning the use of “anything but the lawful money of the United States.” For a piece of legislation on such a complex topic, it was surprisingly brief.

“Section 107 of the Corporations Code is repealed,” states the bill, also known as AB 129, sponsored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, a Democrat from Sacramento. Although the legislation mentions no currency by name, Dickinson indeed wrote it with bitcoin and similar things in mind. (Here’s an analysis prepared by the Assembly’s Committee on Banking and Finance earlier this year.)

The move should help smooth Bitcoin’s relationship with the state, according to CNET:

The Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to promoting best practices for the virtual currency, was ordered last year to cease operations in California, or face hefty fines. The California Department of Financial Institutions, which oversees banks, credit unions, and other financial organizations operating in the state, accused the foundation of “engaging in the business of money transmission without a license or proper authorization.”


  • Yankee Mike Bravo

    I was just saying to the wife that what this nation needs is more fake money.

    Usually, I’m a big fan of Governor Brown, but with this bill, DANG, I deny any knowledge of his existence.

  • Charles Barnard

    The law violated the natural rights of people to trade–and made barter illegal while requiring trade to be conducted in a currency backed by the belief that it has value.

    Even US currency only says it is ‘legal tender’ and doesn’t try to forbid people other currencies. At that, the government won’t accept currency for a great many payments despite what is printed on the notes. They want electronic money, Unfortunately, government money can be created far more easily than Bitcoins.

    The instability in the Bitcoin market was predictable–the market is small enough to be easily manipulated by anyone with enough wealth. Why? To make money! To make people wary of currency the wealthy do not control. To protect the financiers.

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