West Virginia Lawmakers Complete Bitcoin Money Laundering Bill

Stan Higgins
Apr 28, 2017 at 10:00 UTC
Updated Apr 28, 2017 at 10:12 UTC

Lawmakers in the state of West Virginia have completed work on a bill that would make it a felony to use bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for money laundering.

As reported in February, West Virginia House Bill 2585 constitutes an update to the state’s anti-money laundering statutes, specifically creating a definition for cryptocurrency that is recognized as a ‘monetary instrument’ in the state.

The definition included in the bill reads:

“‘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 which operate independently of a central bank.”

The measure is on the cusp of becoming state law, public records show.

Lawmakers have finished drafting the bill following a conference period, according to LegiScan, a legislation data service provider. The state’s lower chamber initially passed the bill by a 78–21 vote, with the senate approving the measure unanimously a month later in a 34–0 vote.

The bill, though subject to approval by the state’s governor, Democrat Jim Justice, forms part of a larger legislative trend happening in the US today.

State lawmakers in a number of states, including Arizona, New Hampshire and Nevada, have passed or advanced bills focusing on either bitcoin or blockchain in recent months.

West Virginia State House image via Shutterstock