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Regulators’ eyes on Ohio when it comes to bitcoin

Has Ohio suddenly become a global trailblazer as a venue promoting the legitimacy and widespread use of so-called cryptocurrency?

Many readers of our business law blog at the Dayton legal firm of Gottschlich & Portune undoubtedly have some smarts regarding precisely what cryptocurrencies are and what they entail. Others, though, likely don’t. That alternative-to-cash realm is still relatively new and enveloped in near fog-like mystery.

We suggest to followers of our posts that they might simply substitute the term “bitcoin” for cryptocurrency whenever they see a reference to the latter. Bitcoin is the world’s best known digital (i.e., cashless) currency, being a nongovernmental form of exchange that is not linked to any central bank. Fans of the medium across the world often engage in transactions from a long-term investment perspective, although there is a growing trend to use bitcoins in lieu of cash for payments on many things.

The list entailing “what bitcoin can pay for” just got appreciably longer and more impressive, owing to a bold move taken by Ohio government regulators. State Treasurer Josh Mandell formally declared last week that Ohio is now the first American state – and, notes one article on the subject, “one of the first governments in the world” – to enable businesses to pay their taxes with bitcoin.

The process works as follows. Companies interested in the new program formally register for it online. Their bitcoin payments go through a portal that converts them to dollars, which are then deposited into governmental accounts. Paying companies are assessed a 1-percent fee each time they transact.

Mandel is a noted cryptocurrency fan. He says that creation of the new payment option will usher in more options and flexibility for Ohio businesses, as well as “project Ohio’s leadership in embracing blockchain technology.”

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