After the cryptocurrency “boom” of the past few months, many states in the US have found themselves in the need to update their legislatures, in order to make sure any new concepts are properly treated within the law. While many states choose to amend their current legislation, Michigan is taking an unusual approach. The state has decided to define “distributed ledgers” and “cryptocurrency” in its criminal statuses, treating crimes committed with these new technologies just as if they where committed with paper or fiat currency.
There have been 4 bills introduced to this date. The first one, HB6257, would amend the penal code related to fraud and forgery of documents, providing distributed ledgers an equal legal status to legal financial documents, such as promissory notes and deeds. This would result in the same punishment of a 14-year maximum sentence for someone who commits fraud with either distributed ledgers or physical documents.
The next two bills, HB6253 and HB6254, put embezzlement and money laundering with cryptocurrency in the same criminal status of the respective crimes committed with fiat money. Also, both bills offer the following definition of cryptocurrency:
“’Cryptocurrency’ means 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.”
The last bill, HB6258, adds cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers to the list of “financial transaction devices”, theft or fraudulent possession of which is a felony and therefore punished by law.
by Samuel Larreal