You could be forgiven for having missed it.
Amidst a massive and ongoing decline in the price of bitcoin — the cryptocurrency saw a 40 percent loss of value over the last month alone — a small bit of good news has emerged for the decentralized faithful. Specifically, the state of Ohio announced it will allow businesses to use bitcoin for tax payments.
But don’t get too excited: This option is presently still off limits for your average Joe Citizen.
What’s more, you definitely shouldn’t read this as some sort of government signal that the price is going to the moon. Ohio has zero plans to HODL. That’s right, even though Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has made it possible for mom and pop shops to unload their unwanted crypto while simultaneously paying off their tax burdens, the state will not be left holding any bags.
That’s because Ohio will never actually touch any bitcoin. Instead, the payment processor working with the state will sell the crypto for USD as soon as it receives the payment.
“At no point will the Treasurer’s office hold cryptocurrency,” explains the FAQ page on ohiocrypto.com. “Payments made on OhioCrypto.com, through our third party cryptocurrency payment processor partner BitPay, are immediately converted to USD before being deposited into a state account.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, businesses can start registering this week on ohiocrypto.com for the chance to pay their taxes in bitcoin. And yes, it’s only bitcoin — sorry ether fans.
“Under the leadership of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, taxpayers are able to pay their state business taxes with cryptocurrency for the first time anywhere in America,” explains the Ohio crypto website. “Ohio has become the first state in the United States, and one of the first governments in the world, to accept cryptocurrency.”
So, why now? Bitcoin has been around for just over ten years, and its rapid price fluctuations seem to make it a rather unideal option for paying taxes. Mandel, as quoted by the Journal, notes that it’s all about Ohio “planting a flag” in the cryptocurrency space.
And hey, a planted flag on a sinking ship is still a flag — even if it only serves to attract sharks.