WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Many investors have said Bitcoin will take off when you can pay your taxes with it, well that time might be getting closer.
There’s a lot of legal uncertainty in the US surrounding cryptocurrencies, and many other investors, like Kevin O’Leary ABC show Shark Tank fame, have said that they’ll only believe Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “real things” when you can pay your taxes with them, and now in spite of all the politics and opinions the state of Ohio is pressing forward with them, and as of this week Ohio be the first state to accept Bitcoin for paying tax bills.
The Wall Street Journal, who first announced the introduction, notes this will be limited to businesses purposes only, and will not include being able to use Bitcoin to pay personal taxes, and that no Bitcoin is going directly into Ohio’s coffers – an Atlanta firm, BitPay, converts the virtual cash to dollars first. Despite this though the new way of paying could be a much more convenient arrangement for shops that already take Bitcoin and who’d rather not exchange it just to cover their sales tax payments.
This move doesn’t eliminate the regulatory concerns around cryptocurrency though, and it’s doubtful that more than a handful of businesses will use it. And it’s happening in Ohio because state Treasurer Josh Mandel says he can do it without requiring help from the legislature or the governor, and that it would be considerably more difficult to implement this new initiative if he had to get a bill passed for it.
Nevertheless it could be a significant move. Coin Center director Jerry Brito noted that this could help end the stigma around bitcoin, which is unlikely, and show that it’s useful for above board purposes like taxes, and with New York and other states are already taking steps to greenlight cryptocurrencies you might see others follow suit if Ohio’s efforts are successful.