Bitcoin is now a legal form of payment within the state of California thanks to a new bill signed into law yesterday by Governor Jerry Brown. It may seem a little strange that Bitcoin wasn’t already legal within the state, considering how large a role Silicon Valley played in both legitimizing and showing the business potential of all crypto-currencies. Also, Bitcoin was already being used by a number of businesses in the state as well as Bitcoin ATMs. The bill itself actually repealed an older state law that prohibited the use of any currency other than the US dollar. With the repeal in place, Californians are now free to use Bitcoin, other crypto-currencies, and even rewards points from loyalty programs.
California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law a bill that clears away possible state-level obstacles to alternative currencies such as bitcoin. The legislation repeals what backers said was an outdated California law prohibiting commerce using anything but U.S. currency. Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, the bill’s author, said earlier this week the bill reflects the popularity of forms of payment already in use in California like bitcoin and that even rewards points from businesses, such as Starbucks Stars, could technically be considered illegal without an update to currency law in the nation’s most populous state. California lawmakers approved the measure on Monday, just days after the failed Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox received court approval to begin bankruptcy proceedings in the United States as it awaits approval of a settlement with U.S. customers and a sale of its business. Mt. Gox was once the world’s leading exchange for trading the digital currency, but shut its website earlier this year after saying that in a hacking attack it lost some 850,000 bitcoins, worth more than $500 million at current prices. The firm later said it found 200,000 bitcoins.