House Bill 1379 recently passed in Florida, which defines virtual currency and prohibits its use in laundering criminal proceeds. The bill adds the term “virtual currency” to the definition of “monetary instruments” under Florida’s Money Laundering Act. The legislation is currently in the hands of the State’s Governor and is expected to be signed soon.
The Act defines digital currency as a “medium of exchange in electronic or digital format that is not a coin or currency of the United States or any other country.” Previously, the Act only applied money laundering to legacy financial transactions of various types, including bank deposits, investments, and wire transfers.
The resulting outcome is that criminals using cryptocurrencies will be charged with money laundering as well as the underlying crimimal activity. “Cyber criminals have taken advantage of our antiquated laws for too long,” claimed Democratic House Representative Jose Felix Diaz, a sponsor of the bill.
“Bitcoin bypasses the traditional banking system, and our state’s laws simply had not caught up to the upsurge in criminality in the world of cybercurrency.” – Florida Representative Jose Felix Diaz