Italy recognizes Smart Contracts as law

Somewhere… law is code.

Italy’ Senate approved a new law called “DL Semplificazioni” that will provide legal standing to Blockchain technology and Smart Contracts.

This is huge step for me since I spent the last 4 years of my life developing a Blockchain based solution for exchanging business documents called https://Commerc.io.

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Palazzo Madama, home of Italy’s Senate of the Republic

This is also a huge, huge step for all my fellow Italian citizens, since we are all living in the second worst bureaucratic country of the world (Venezuela beat us) at least according to the World Economic Forum. This gives me a ray of hope, because change can increase efficiency if it is in the right direction.

This is also a huge, huge, huge step for Italy’s central and local governments, and for all Italian business organizations, in regards to the electronic documents and electronic signatures exchange. In January Italy was among the first countries in the world to make electronic invoices mandatory for any business organizations. Yes, this is literally 100% gun-point driven innovation… but if the only way to innovate in Italy is to make it a crime not to, well maybe the end justifies the means, according to Macchiavelli’s philosophy.

What this Blockchain law could change for Italians in practical terms? Simply put, we eventually will be able to do more things online. Sign business contracts, labor contracts, financial, insurance and banking institutions contracts. Most public registers can be moved on a Blockchain and make digital notarization a commodity.

The most simple and immediate benefit is time-stamping. We can now certify the date and time of existence of digital document as Blockchain based evidence at a given time. In Italy since 1862 exists the “Ufficio del Registro” an office with the purpose of being the register of all things, we can think of it as being a historic proto-Blockchain. Every day people in Italy line up to buy stamps and have a document stamped to certify its date.

The new law will also be the first within the European Union to consider Smart Contracts as legally binding.

This has a HUGE impact for two reasons:

  1. It recognizes that Smart Contracts have the same contract value of digital documents .
  2. It extends its applicability, since they can be used in every case where the law requires written form.

This Blockchain law could push the effort to digitally transform Italy with literally hundreds of things that are now still held on paper registers :

PUBLIC DATA

Land titles, Vehicle transfer registries, Business licenses, Business incorporation/dissolution records, Business ownership records, Regulatory records, Criminal records, Passports, Birth certificates, Death certificates Voter IDs.

PRIVATE BUSINESS DATA

Business Documents, Business Contracts, Document Signatures, Escrows, Accounting records, Business transaction records, Delivery records, Arbitration, Credits, Debits, On-time Payments, Credit Scores.

PRIVATE PERSONAL DATA

GDPR Consents,Wills, Trusts, Medical records, Physical asset keys, Home/apartment keys,Vacation home/timeshare keys,Hotel room keys,Car keys,Rental car keys,Leased cars keys,Locker keys,Safety deposit box keys,Package delivery.

INTANGIBLE DATA

Coupons,Vouchers,Reservations (restaurants, hotels, queues, etc.),Movie tickets,Patents,Copyrights,Trademarks,Software licenses,Videogame licenses,Music/movie/book licenses.

Finally as long time supporter of the Blockchain paradigm, Ethereum in particular, today for a change, I smile thinking about the future.

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