Michigan Bill to Strengthen Protection on Blockchain Data

Michigan Bill to Strengthen Protection on Blockchain Data

A proposed bill in the Michigan state is seeking to penalize people or entities who alter a blockchain record. 

House Bill 6257, a measure amending certain portions of the Michigan Penal Code, wants to punish a person “makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a public record.” 

Filed by state representative Curt VanderWall, the legislation applies to any person “that accomplishes a violation of… altering a record made utilizing distributed ledger technology.” 

It refers to the technology as “any distributed ledger protocol and supporting infrastructure, including blockchain, that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared, and replicated ledger, whether use of the ledger is public or private, permissioned or permissionless, and that may include the use of electronic currencies or electronic tokens as a medium of exchange.” 

The bill, however, does not provide any explanation on how the bill will be enforced or the rationale for crafting this measure. 

Meanwhile, House Bill 6258 filed in the state proffers the same changes in the penal code for crimes involving credit cards. 

“’Financial transaction device’ means any of the following…Any instrument…or other means of access to a credit account or deposit account including through the use of cryptocurrency or distributed ledger technology,” it said. 

If passed, both measures will take effect 90 days after its enactment. 

Although Michigan has no specific rules governing cryptocurrencies, its Treasury department had stated purchases of digital currency are not subject to sales or use tax. 

“Virtual currency itself is not tangible personal property for purposes of the General Sales Tax Act or the Use Tax Act,” a newsletter from November 2015 explains. This provision refers to the  imposition of a 6 percent tax rate on the value of consideration given in exchange for tangible personal property.

Also, Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette earlier warned consumers that digital currency carries a significant amount of real-life risk.

“…before purchasing any virtual currency or otherwise jumping on the virtual currency bandwagon, educate yourself so you can make an informed decision about what you are getting into,” Schuette had said.

Certain things, according to the Michigan attorney general, should be considered before using cryptocurrency: virtual currency can be lost or stolen, its value’s volatility, tax implications, and no protections for the general public.

“Because it is not real currency, virtual currency should be treated like an investment.  As with any investment decision, you should thoroughly research virtual currency before investing your hard-earned money. Both the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] and FINRA [Financial Industry Regulatory Authority] have issued alerts with more information about the investment risks involved with virtual currency,” Schuette added.

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