Starting this week, businesses in Ohio can register to pay taxes with bitcoin. Eventually, individual filers will be able to use the system too, reports the Wall Street Journal. The idea comes from state treasurer Josh Mandel, 41, who says bitcoin is “a legitimate form of currency” and hopes other states will start accepting bitcoin for taxes also.
The announcement has generated lots of buzz among bitcoin folks amid the continuing crypto market bloodbath.
The decision doesn’t technically give bitcoin a different legal standing, though it does lend additional credence to the currency, which many still associate with illegal activities.
But the fact that the government is providing this backing—through something like taxes, no less—might not sit easily with some. Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer pointed out the irony of bitcoiners, many of whom are anti-tax, getting excited about a new way to pay the government.
It’s crypto’s eternal dilemma: Adoption by traditional institutions or governments is considered “good for bitcoin,” and yet can be seen by some as antithetical to the anti-government ideals that lead to bitcoin’s creation in the first place. Others see blockchain as providing critical technological progress, separate from any political agenda.
There’s also some debate over whether Ohio’s move counts as true “adoption,” anyway. BitPay will convert any payment that Ohio receives to fiat, so it’s not like the state is going to start HODLing bitcoin.
Still, many in the bitcoin community are excited. Only time will tell how many Ohioans will make use of the program, or if fears of governmental address tracking and/or a desire to hold onto bitcoin will dissuade potential users. Regardless, it’s hard to read Ohio’s decision as anything but legitimizing for bitcoin.