The state of Ohio is reportedly set to become the first in the United States to start accepting bitcoin payments for tax bills, in what appears to be a move to support the flagship cryptocurrency as a payment method.
According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, local businesses will have to register on the OhioCrypto.com website to be able to pay taxes with BTC. After registering, they’ll be able to pay their taxes in crypto, including sales and employee withholding taxes.
The move first came from state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has been in the office since 2011 and reportedly gained an interest in cryptocurrencies “several years ago.” Mandel, according to the WSJ, believes the program will help Ohio stand out in crypto adoption. He was quoted as saying:
I do see [bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency.
The report notes that the move won’t make bitcoin a legal currency in the state, but will, according to Coin Center director Jerry Brito, “help send a message that bitcoin’s a technology that can be used by anybody—by bad guys but also by the government.”
Tax bills paid for in bitcoin will see the money go to Atlanta-based cryptocurrency payments processor BitPay, which will convert the cryptocurrency to USD. While it isn’t clear how many businesses will be paying their taxes with BTC, Mandel noted some companies have asked to do so.
The move notably comes as bitcoin has one of the worst months in its history. According to CryptoCompare data, it has in the last two weeks lost roughly 40% of its value, after plummeting from around $6,400 to $3,700 at press time.
Other states in the US, including Georgia, Arizona, and Illinois, have considered bitcoin payments for taxes, but didn’t manage to implement them as the proposals stalled in their state legislatures. Mandel, per the report, claimed he can direct the office to accept bitcoin without the state legislatures’ approval.
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has earlier this year loosened the state’s regulatory approach to make it attractive for blockchain-based firms. As CryptoGlobe covered other territories have made similar moves.
Notably Malta became known as the “blockchain island” after being the first country to establish a full regulatory framework for distributed ledger technology (DLT). Gibraltar has also taken a friendly approach, and saw 30 cryptocurrency firms, including Xapo, expand to it.