New Bill Passes Michigan House of Representatives to Cover Cryptocurrencies Under Criminal Codes

One of the biggest concerns in cryptocurrency has been the possibility of being involved in money laundering, which has proven to be true through the years. In an effort to protect their citizens, the Michigan House of Representatives recently decided to pass a bill on this topic. The bill, which is referred to as HB 4102, would make it possible to include cryptocurrencies amongst the criminal codes that refer to illegal activities for personal gain.

The voting lawmakers in Michigan have already chosen to bring in various amendments to the Michigan Penal Code in specific sections. The amendments would say that cryptocurrency is covered under the provisions that cover embezzlement, money laundering, credit card fraud, and financial transactions that involve a criminal offense. With the new legislation, the collection of cryptocurrencies for the purpose of fighting, baiting, and/or shooting animals would be prohibited, much like with any other currency.

Ryan Berman, a state representative, spoke with Detroit News about the bill, saying that it was originally thought of as a result of a case involving a dog-fighting ring. While the organizer saw his own day in court, the individuals that participated were exempt, since their bets came from the use of cryptocurrency. At the time, the use of cryptocurrency in this capacity had not been banned.

With the new bill, Berman explains that there is an update, which was a necessity after going decades without a change. He commented that cryptocurrency has found a way into our industry, and that means that it should be included in the current laws as well. Based on reports from The Detroit News, it appears that the bipartisan legislation has been approved. However, there are no new penalties added to the jurisdiction for violations at this point.

The legislation includes a definition for bitcoin and cryptocurrency as well, saying that it is “digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, and that operates independently of a central bank.” In the vote, the bill saw 108 votes in favor of the bill, which means it will be going on to the State Senate now.

In June last year, two bills were introduced to the Michigan state legislature that made the modification of information and data on the blockchain a crime. Anyone to violate these laws with the intention of causing injury or defrauding another individual would face up to 14 years in prison. The other bill changed the current penal code in Michigan, adding both blockchain distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrency. Though no action has been taken yet, the bills were moved to the Senate Judiciary Committee in late 2018.

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