California governor Jerry Brown over the weekend passed a bill that effectively repeals previous legislation against alternative currencies. Up to this point, state law banned the use of any type of currency except US legal tender.
The bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, said last week that AB 129 reflects the popularity of virtual currencies that are already in use in The Golden State. He said it's simply impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives.
While Bitcoin is certainly considered an alternative currency under the bill's definition, it's worth pointing out that the new law isn't limited to alt coins. Instead, it covers a wide range of alternative payment methods including coupons, reward points and more. Examples that immediately come to mind include Amazon Coins and Starbucks Stars.
While the legislation is no doubt a victory for alternative coins, NewsBTC is quick to point out that it doesn't actually change much as it relates to Bitcoin users because the prior bill largely went unenforced.
The revisions should also ease tension between the California Department of Financial Institutions, the group that oversees credit unions, banks and other financial organizations, and the Bitcoin Foundation. Just over a year ago, the foundation was ordered to cease operations in California for engaging in the business of money transmission without a license or proper authorization. The Bitcoin Foundation was given 20 days to comply with the order.