Italian law defines blockchain and smart contracts


On February 12, 2019, Law no. 12/2019, converting into law the so called Decreto Semplificazioni (“Simplification Decree”), Legislative Decree No. 135/2018 was published on the Italian Official Gazette no. 36/2019.

Among other provisions, the Simplification Decree defines the concept of “technologies based on distributed ledgers (blockchain)” and “smart contracts”.

“Technologies based on distributed ledgers” are technologies and IT protocols using a shared, distributed, replicable ledger accessible simultaneously, architecturally decentralized on cryptographic basis, allowing registration, validation, updating and storage of non-cryptographic data and non-cryptographic data and not that can be verified by each participant, but that can’t be modified or edited. Article 8ter, Simplification Decree.

“Smart contract” is a program for programmers that operates on technologies based on distributed ledgers and whose execution automatically binds two or more parties according to predefined terms. The smart contract satisfies the requirement of being in writing if the parties are electronically identified according to the requirements that will be established by the Agency for Digital Italy. The guidelines shall be adopted by mid-May 2019. Article 8ter, paragraph 2.

Those smart contracts that meet the requirements that will be established by the Agency for Digital Italy will be considered as being in writing and this may contribute to the validity of the agreement itself.

Legge 11 febbraio 2019, n. 12 – Testo coordinato – Conversione in legge, con modificazioni, del decreto-legge 14 dicembre 2018, n. 135, recante disposizioni urgenti in materia di sostegno e semplificazione per le imprese e per la pubblica amministrazione can be downloaded (in Italian) at…

More information is available at…



For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal and Federica Romanelli.