California passes law to legalize digital currencies

Steven Loeb · June 30, 2014 · Short URL:

Law does not only apply to Bitcoin, but to rewards programs, like Amazon and Starbucks, as well

Slowly, but surely, the fear over digital currencies is being taken over by a growing acceptance. First it was through private companies, such as Zynga and RealtyShares, which began accepting them.  And, now, an actual government, and one of the largest economies in the world, is recognizing them as well.

You don't get more legit than that!

This weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that essentially makes crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin, legal in the state, according to a report from Reuters.

The bill, which was authored by Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, repealed a previous law, which banned the use of any currency other than those issued by the United States government. In a press release issued earlier this month, Dickinson stated that such a law was becoming quickly outdated in the era of, not only digital currencies, but rewards systems, such as Starbuck's Stars as well.

"In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon Coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives," he said. "This bill is intended to fine-tune current law to address Californians' payment habits in the mobile and digital fields."

This is a big reversal for California, which, just over a year ago, sent a cease and desist letter to the Bitcoin Foundation, warning them of "unlawful conduct of money transmission business."

The letter, signed by State of California Senior Counsel Paul T. Crayton, warned of hefty fines and possible jail time for violating the law. Now, the state has just made it legal.

The State of California is not the only entity to recently have a change of heart on digital currencies; Apple, too, had developed a bad reputation among the Bitcoin community after it blocked virtual currency apps, like digital wallets Coinbase and Blockchain.

 In response, Blockchain even wrote a scathing blog post in February, excoriating Apple for its decision.

"These actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anti-competitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies that are clearly focused on preserving Apple’s monopoly on payments rather than based on any consideration of the needs and desires of their users," the company wrote. "Apple’s censorship of bitcoin applications, especially when viewed in the context of removing a 2 year app with 120,000 downloads is historic and unprecedented."

Yet, earlie this month, Apple did a complete 180 and updated its its App Store Review guidelines, adding a new rule will allow apps in the App Store to use virtual currencies, as long as they are legal. 

The App store has since had Bitcoin wallet apps begin to show up, and a number of apps have begun accepting digital currencies as well. 

All of this just goes to show you: be successful enough, and everyone just kind of gets in line.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit



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RealtyShares is an online investment platform that uses crowdfunding to pool investors into private real estate investments. Accredited Investor members can browse a variety of investment opportunities, review details on the investment and invest as little as $1,000. Execution of investor documents and fund transfers are handled securely through our platform, allowing investors to complete the entire transaction process through our site.

RealtyShares targets both residential and commercial investment opportunities. Today we offer both fixed-income investments in the form of first-position loans secured by 1-4 unit residential properties usually yielding between 8-10% as well as equity investments in apartments, retail and office properties. Each investment property is professionally operated and managed by a dedicated Real Estate Company making the investment completely passive to investors.