New Michigan Bill Forbids Altering of Blockchain Data


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New Michigan Bill Forbids Altering of Blockchain Data

A new bill introduced in the Michigan house of representatives aims to ban any “false” altering of data in a blockchain.

“A person who falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits a public record, or a certificate, return, or attestation of a clerk of court [...] or other property with intent to injure or defraud another person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 14 years,” the bill reads.

This is, obviously, already part of the law. What’s different this time, however, is subsection 3 of this particular section of the law, which states:

“This section applies to a person that accomplishes a violation of subsection (1) by altering a record made utilizing distributed ledger technology.”

The bill also makes it clear that “distributed ledger technology” also refers to “blockchain” and any other kind of distributed or decentralized ledger that is “public or private, permissioned or permissionless, and that may include the use of electronic currencies or electronic tokens as a medium of electronic exchange,” in subsection 5.

This is one of the first examples of a state government attempting to tackle potential crimes in a brand-new technology. However, there are some complications that may make this law inefficient.

First of all, while we do have examples of 51% attacks modifying data on a blockchain—Zencash comes to mind—it’s extraordinarily difficult to do such a thing in the first place with large, established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

But let’s think of a scenario in which Bitcoin does suffer such an attack. After all, more than three- quarters of the cryptocurrency’s hash power is run through Chinese mining pools, so it wouldn’t be entirely impossible.

If this happens, Michigan would have trouble determining territorial jurisdiction against the perpetrators.

Even if the Bitcoin blockchain first started in Michigan, it would eventually be geographically distributed. The only way this law could be enforced is if one could prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that at least one of the perpetrators resides in the state.

Now, for such a law to have more reach, other authorities around the world will have to enact something similar. Perhaps such a discussion could be a first step towards international standardization of blockchain-related criminal law.

This article appeared first on Cryptovest