California Lawmakers Working to Clarify Bitcoin’s Legal Status

June 9, 2014

California Lawmakers Working to Clarify Bitcoin’s Legal Status A bill wending through the legislative process in California that would officially legalize Bitcoin was approved 7-1 last week by the Senate Banking Committee. AB-129, which would recognize points, coupons and all forms of digital currencies as lawful money, recently passed in the California Assembly by a unanimous 75-0 vote. The successful committee vote means the bill will reach the Senate floor for debate by the full body.

In what was probably surprising to the many California-based Bitcoin startups, the bill is a necessary step, given the current language of the California Corporations Code. Section 107 of the Code states that “No corporation, flexible purpose corporation, association or individual shall issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States.”

There has been speculation that the reticence of many California-based payment heavyweights including PayPal, Google, Facebook and Apple to embrace Bitcoin has been its official legal status, though many consider the law a formality.