When Nevada leaped into the world of distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies following the passage of SB398 (commonly referred to as Nevada’s blockchain bill) by the 2017 Nevada Legislature, it was unclear how exactly, and how quickly, it would impact Nevada’s economy and its citizens.
Now 15 months following passage we are beginning to see some of its fruits come to bear — startups are locating here by the dozens from across the country, and officials are beginning to utilize blockchains to improve government services.
A crucial section within the legislation amended Nevada’s electronic records laws to specify that those kept on a blockchain have the same legal effect as any other electronic record.
This allowed the Washoe County Recorder’s office to enter into a first-in-the-nation pilot program, which allows anyone to receive a certified copy of their marriage license within minutes via email.
To make this possible, the Recorder’s office has partnered with blockchain startup Titan Seal, which recently relocated to Nevada; a decision driven in large part by the passage of SB398.
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When a customer requests a copy of their marriage license, Titan Seal puts a secure, cryptographic hash of it on the Ethereum blockchain, which is then displayed on the certificate.
The hash is a unique number that can only be generated from a certified copy of a marriage certificate, allowing a certificate holder to cross-reference it with the one on the blockchain to ensure its validity and that it is unmodified.
With the legacy system of printing a certificate, stamping, and applying a wet signature from the Recorder, customers routinely waited up to two weeks for the copy to arrive via snail-mail.
Given Washoe County’s history with ‘quick access’ weddings (and divorces), the Recorder’s office has many more records