Overstock to Become First US Company to Pay Taxes in Bitcoin

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Overstock, the household goods retailer who said in November that they were going to close their retail business and focus entirely on blockchain enterprises, announced Friday that they plan to pay some of their commercial activity taxes in Bitcoin. This would make them the first company in the US to do so. The company, headed by known crypto evangelist Patrick Byrne, will make use of Ohio state’s official Bitcoin payment portal, which was announced around the same time as Overstock’s shift to blockchain investment last year.

Overstock Counters the Naysayers

The decision by Overstock to pay some of their taxes in Bitcoin marks a watershed moment in cryptocurrency. Not just because it is adds another notch to Bitcoin’s legitimacy argument, but also because it directly contradicts the well-worn claims by Bitcoin bashers that the digital currency is used to avoid taxes. It also counters the more specific argument by Nouriel Roubini that cryptocurrency has no intrinsic value, because it cannot be used to pay for taxes like fiat currency can.

Ohio Leads the Way

Ohio, which has in the past stated its desire to become a blockchain hub, revealed details of its Bitcoin payment platform last year, thanks to treasurer Josh Mandel who is a known proponent of transparency and accountability when it comes to government finances. Overstock will use the ohiocrypto.com portal, which allows businesses to pay their dues on 23 different taxes, ranging from fuel and sales taxes to cigarette and tobacco taxes, when it comes time to pay up. Ohio is the first state to have approved Bitcoin payments, but others are considering doing so too, with Arizona, Georgia, and Illinois all exploring the possibility.

The First of Many?

While Overstock’s Bitcoin tax payment will probably not start a wholesale change in behavior of Ohio businesses, headlines like this go some way towards changing the negative perception of Bitcoin and increasing its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. It will of course take more than one business paying some taxes in Bitcoin to affect the kind of change advocates would like to see, but the revolution has to start somewhere.