The U.S state of Ohio has announced it will accept bitcoin payments for filing taxes. This will first only be implemented for business filers, but there are also plans to expand to individuals. Business need to register themselves on the website OhioCrypto.com to be able to pay all their taxes in bitcoin, as was reported by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
State Treasurer Josh Mandel came up with the idea. The 41-year old started taking an interest into bitcoin several years ago. He sees the initiative as a ‘convenience for filers’ and ‘an opportunity’ for Ohio in adopting the currency. “I do see [bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency”, Mandel told the newspaper.
The move by Ohio doesn’t give bitcoin any particular legal status, but it does send a message. Mandel is hoping other states will follow the example. Other states that are currently considering bitcoin for tax payments are Arizona, Georgia and Illinois, but in those states the bill has been stalled in their state legislature.
Technically the payments will go through Bitpay, an Atlanta-based payment processor for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They will convert the bitcoin to dollars for the state treasurer’s office.
Bitcoin is considered legal in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and much of the European Union. But there’s still a lot of work to be done on its legislation. Governments have difficulty grasping the concept of blockchain technology and everything that comes with it, for its decentralized exchanges (DEXs) to the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
It’s not without reason that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission just started chasing crypto startups that are breaking the law. It needed a framework to work with. As a result several ICOs have been fined or halted, while the decentralized exchange EtherDelta has been fined for not registering as a financial exchange. Slow but steady governments are creating laws, changing old rules, in order to embrace to rise of crypto currencies.
Accepting cryptocurrencies as one form of payment is only a logical step. Ohio is the first, and probably several more states will follow soon. In the future entire countries will embrace crypto alongside their national currencies. In the end tolerating crypto will give the government insight into what’s happening, while banning it would only work against them as people always find a way.
Also published on Medium.