Ohio provided Bitcoin fans with reasons to be cheerful yesterday, when it announced that it had become the first state to accept the cryptocurrency as a method of business tax payment. A cryptocurrency portal, ohiocrypto.com, will allow businesses to pay their dues on 23 different taxes, ranging from fuel and sales taxes to cigarette and tobacco taxes.
Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel is the man behind the project, which was announced as Bitcoin slumped to another annual low of around $3,600 the same day. Ohio has already stated its desire to become a blockchain hub, and this announcement is another important cog in the machinery of having that vision come true.
Importance of Transparency
Bitcoin as a method of payment for private purchases is of course nothing new, but taking it into the public sphere represents different challenges – particularly public perception. Critics of Bitcoin often cite, incorrectly, that it is anonymous, but they will be interested to know that earlier this month Mandel launched an online checkbook, which puts all state spending information on the internet for citizens to see, suggesting that he takes a more progressive view on Bitcoin’s transparency issue.
To pay via Bitcoin, businesses must enter their state registration number and tax amount before sending the Bitcoin, which the treasurer’s office then convert to dollars using the popular payment processor Bitpay. Bitcoin is the only currency accepted at the current time, although additional payment methods are being looked at by the treasurer’s office.
Other States to Follow
Ohio is the first state to have approved Bitcoin payments, but they are not the only ones considering it. Arizona, Georgia, and Illinois are all working on similar programs, but Ohio’s is the only one to have made it into legislation. While it is unknown how many businesses will use the portal initially, small steps like this help Bitcoin gain more exposure on an everyday level. This is exactly what needs to happen if it wishes to go mainstream and no longer be seen as the preserve of the alternative and the underground.