FILE - State Rep. Margaret Croke

State Rep. Margaret Croke speaks on the House floor in this undated courtesy photo.

(The Center Square) – A measure at the Illinois statehouse that would allow for a state agency to set up rules regarding payment using cryptocurrency has been passed one chamber and is on to the next.

House Bill 5287 could allow for Illinois citizens to use digital currency such as bitcoin as a form of payment with the Illinois Department of Revenue and their branches across the state.

State Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago, explained that the payment system would involve an outside third party, similar to how credit cards payments are processed. The measure would not mean the state holds digital currency, but rather converts cryptocurrency payments into U.S. dollars. 

"HB5287 will allow the Department of Revenue to adopt rules and regulations for payment by cryptocurrency," Croke said. "This would mirror the system that is in place for credit cards."

The cryptocurrency market is a volatile market due to high supply and demand, investor and user sentiments, government regulations and media hype.

State Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, asked about these issues and what happens if the market hits a downturn while a payment is being processed.

"Crypto is still in its infancy and it's still subject to volatility in the market," Reick said. "If there is a payment by crypto and before it is converted in Springfield, and there is a loss of value with that money who bears the risk of loss?"

The bill allows for individual departments to opt out of accepting cryptocurrency as payment if they choose to and will not be required to implement the payment system. 

The legislation was passed through the House by a vote of 84-15 and now could be taken up by the Senate.

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.