Ohio, the 7th most populated U.S state, has given Bitcoin adoption a major boost as it sets moves to become the first to officially accept various types of tax payments via Bitcoin (BTC).
Ohio becomes a Bitcoin pioneer
Ohio, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, is set to allow businesses (and later individuals), in the state to pay business and employee taxes, among other, in Bitcoin.
The WSJ reports that beginning this week; businesses can visit the state’s website at ohiocrypto.com register and settle their taxes in BTC (the website is currently unavailable).
The state’s treasurer Josh Mandel, who has been with Ohio since 2011, is credited as the one behind the idea.
Mandel believes that bitcoin gives the Buckeye State a chance to embrace emerging technology and become a trailblazer in the adoption of cryptocurrency, referring to Bitcoin “as a legitimate form of currency.”
A glance at Ohio’s crypto tax portal FAQ reveals that the state is encouraged by Bitcoin’s capacity to facilitate instant, secure, and transparent transactions.
The site also lists about 23 different taxes that Ohio based businesses can seek to pay using Bitcoin, including cigarette, tobacco, and fuel among other sales taxes.
To facilitate the new tax settlement method, the state will utilize services provided by BitPay, the leading Bitcoin payment processor.
Tax filers will send their taxes to the Atlanta-based crypto firm, which will then convert the BTC to U.S dollars for Ohio’s tax office.
Bitcoin has been in existence for ten years, and while it has gained a more prominent footprint as a tradable asset, it has failed to become the payment currency that creator Satoshi Nakamoto envisioned.
Concerns about price volatility could be among key reasons merchants have remained unconvinced, though that wouldn’t be a problem if merchants utilized payment processors such like BitPay.
Another reason Bitcoin as a currency has lagged relates to the notion that crypto is used by criminals engaging in illicit activities, including money laundering and tax evasion.
For those that understand the technology, Bitcoin is much less optimal than cash for laundering money, it is simply convenient to move across borders but traceability remains intact.
WSJ’s Paul Vigna remarks that although Ohio’s move doesn’t make Bitcoin legal, or give it a “legal status”, but it’s a “kind of tacit approval” that the crypto industry has failed to attract in the last ten years.
Vigna quotes Coin Center’s Jerry Brito, who agrees that Ohio’s initiative will do much more for crypto.
According to Brito, a government body accepting Bitcoin would send “a message” about Bitcoin’s technology, assuring others that it isn’t meant for illegal use, but “can be used by anybody.”
Already, several other U.S states have considered introducing programs that would allow for Bitcoin to be used in the payment of taxes. However, these states, including Arizona, Georgia, and Illinois, have all failed to formulate guidelines at the legislative level.
Other states have also begun to create enabling environments to help businesses leverage the underlying blockchain technology. They include Wyoming, Delaware and New York, with the latter doing so by issuing its BitLicense to several cryptocurrency businesses.
Ohio is one of the most crypto-friendly states in the U.S, with several events suggesting so.
The tax office’s move comes just days after pro-crypto Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson sought a bill that would trim the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) powers over Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies in general.
It is early days to say exactly how great this move is, though, either way; it is a big nod for Bitcoin even as the market grapples with falling prices.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.