Michigan has passed amendments to a bill to include cryptocurrency under its coverage of legal codes against criminal forms of financial gain. With these changes, Michigan now counts crypto under traditional fiat currency related legislation pertaining to money laundering, embezzlement, credit card fraud, and fencing.
In addition, Michigan’s House of Representatives also updated its penal code at the same time (Apr 9) to prohibit the collection of any crypto or currency in connection with the fighting, baiting, or shooting of any animal.
State Representative Ryan Berman said this particular stipulation was inspired by a case involving a dog-fighting ring where spectators who had bet on matches in crypto were not prosecuted. This is because betting in crypto was not expressly prohibited by law at the time.
Berman further expressed these changes are much needed since a number of criminal codes had not been updated for nearly 20 years.
“Digital currency is now a part of our economy. It’s a part of our society. So now it’s actually going to be written in the law.”
House Bill 4102 also classifies cryptocurrency as “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”.
With a vote of 108 to 1 in favor of the amendments, the bill will be sent to the State Senate for final consideration. Michigan currently has two other bills outstanding with the Senate Judiciary Committee, but no decision has been made on them since last year.
One bill codifies that false modifications made to a blockchain, or amendments made for illegal purposes, will be considered a crime. The other adds distributed ledger technology (DLT) for consideration alongside crypto under Michigan’s existing penal code.