These days it seems like conversations about cryptocurrency are inescapable; from the water cooler conversations, to your cousin at Christmas dinner, to the nightly newscast- everyone is talking about this new digital currency. Sure you've heard names like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum, but what does being a "pro-Bitcoin state" even mean?
Earlier this month Michigan Democratic Senator Jim Ananich raised some concerns when he Tweeted his thoughts on making Michigan the most pro-Bitcoin state in the union. The senator from Flint said his hopes for Michigan are to not only be Bitcoin friendly, but also Bitcoin smart.
Ananich fears if Michigan is late to hop on the Bitcoin bandwagon, it may be a currency that is only controlled and used by the wealthy class instead of making its way to the mainstream masses. Sen. Ananich also added he'd like to further study cryptocurrency related policies to see how much of a positive impact it could have on Michigan residents.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin, among other cryptocurrencies, are digital forms of money that only exist online. They can be owned and traded between users and are stored using an encrypted "digital wallet". What makes cryptocurrencies riskier than traditional forms of money is that they are not regulated by governments or banks, making them decentralized and volatile. Bitcoin is the original and most popular cryptocurrency, first hitting the market in 2009. Though it is hard to measure, most reports claim there are over 6,000 different cryptocurrencies in existence as of December 2021.
West Michigan in particular has been pretty open to the cryptocurrency market. Grand Rapids got its first Bitcoin ATM in 2014 and now you can even find Bitcoin ATMs alongside the regular ATMs at party stores or gas stations like the Circle K on Sprinkle Rd. Can you imagine paying your property taxes in Bitcoin? I imagine that's the kind of Bitcoin-friendly Michigan Sen. Ananich has in mind.
Would you be comfortable seeing more Bitcoin-friendly opportunities coming to the Mitten?
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