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A new law permits New Jersey corporations to utilize secure blockchain technology on electronic networks to simplify recordkeeping and prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legislation, A-1178/S-898, sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) and Senator Joseph Cryan (D-20), late Tuesday afternoon. NJBIA supported the legislation.

“Businesses looking to strengthen data privacy and prevent hacking in their recordkeeping systems could benefit from using blockchain technology,” said Zwicker, who chairs the Assembly Science Innovation & Technology Committee.

“Blockchains help protect information and simplify data collection to help businesses perform more efficiently. Beyond the convenience aspect, the security of blockchain technology may be useful in industries that store sensitive information, including healthcare, banking and government agencies.”

Blockchain is a digital ledger, originally invented for keeping track of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, that has far-reaching applications across many industries. It works like a chain of digital blocks that contain records of transactions. Each block is connected to those before and behind it, making it difficult to tamper with because a hacker would need to change the block containing that record and all those linked to it to avoid detection.

“We need to use the technology at our disposal to ensure our information is safe,” said Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-40), a co-sponsor of the legislation. “Permitting companies to use blockchain not only helps protect the company’s data but allows for full transparency of that data. Large companies like Microsoft and Walmart have embraced this technology and we need to make this available to all companies, not just big box stores.”

“Blockchain technology has been used for much more than just cryptocurrency, and it’s time New Jersey recognizes its versatility so companies can maintain more secure records,” added Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26), another co-sponsor of the legislation. “We need to modernize our business practices so that we can keep up with current best practices.”

The governor also signed two other laws affecting businesses on Tuesday:

 

  • A-1625/S-2854, which directs the Department of Education to develop an outreach program that encourages young women and minorities to pursue postsecondary degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). NJBIA supported the bill, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6) and Senator Nellie Pou (D-35).

 

  • A-2765/S-1838, which affects the wording of the official state logo denoting the manufacturer of goods in New Jersey. Under the law, the Department of State, in coordination with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension, will develop and designate a logo using the phrase “Made in New Jersey,” “Made in NJ” or “MINJ” that can be used by manufacturers and producers of New Jersey-made products. NJBIA supported the legislation, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-11) and Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14).