Ohio Bans Bitcoin for Alcohol Sales

The State of Ohio canceled the use of bitcoin for buying and selling alcohol.

Bitcoin Boulevard - a movement that started in Holland that aims to have shopping, events and other activities themed upon Bitcoin - faced its first major setback with the Ohio Department of Public Safety ruling that shops cannot sell alcohol with Bitcoin. Photo: Jes/Flickr

Bitcoin Boulevard - a movement that started in Holland that aims to have shopping, events and other activities themed upon Bitcoin - faced its first major setback with the Ohio Department of Public Safety ruling that shops cannot sell alcohol with Bitcoin. Photo: Jes/Flickr

The State of Ohio became the first government in the US, which abolished the use of bitcoin for alcohol sales. The decision was followed by an inquiry from the Bottlehouse Brewing Co. about whether accepting bitcoin would jeopardize local liquor licenses.

An inquery was sent to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which is responsible for issuing liquor licences in the state, according to the Cleveland.

Eric Wolf, the agent-in-charge of the Ohio Investigative Unit of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, said bitcoin is more like a commodity than a currency, due to its price fluctuations.

Liquor Control Law in Ohio forbids anything other than dollar to be applied for selling and buying alcohol.

Several members of the Bitcoin Boulevard US project, which was presented last week, expressed their intention to discuss the project with the authorities and clarify their positions.

The May 1 event will start with a Bitcoin meetup, after which participants will be able to spend down their virtual wallets.

Lisa Dunn, the owner of Revive Fair Trade Eco-Boutique, considers bitcoin is a good way of supporting international development. According to Lisa, Bitcoin Boulevard US, which is set to be launched on May 1, will help entrepreneur-minded sellers to spotlight their independent businesses in the Cedar-Lee Business District.

That’s what Nikhil Chand, an organizer of the Bitcoin Boulevard US project, planned when he offered to create bitcoin-welcoming business in Northeast Ohio. He expressed his views on the situation:

“I personally think their conclusion is unfortunate, and is indicative of the type of senseless obstructionism small businesses face from many antiquated and complicated laws and regulations.”

“But, it makes for an interesting new chapter to the bitcoin story and an interesting topic to present at our launch event. I fear this will set a precedent for other areas of the US as bitcoin continues adoption and so I plan to do whatever I can to keep this issue alive.”

Adam and Susan Fleischer, the owners of The Wine Spot, were among the first who accepted bitcoin. They support the use of digital currency as it is automatically converted into cash for them, and they didn’t have to make large investments to accept bitcoin.

William Mahnic, associate professor banking and finance at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, doesn’t think Bitcoin Boulevard US will have a success. It is better to make payments in dollars rather than bitcoin, which price could reduce.

David S. Cohen, undersecretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence for the U.S. Treasury Department, said that despite the enthusiasm toward virtual currency, it still poses risks for its consumers. Bitcoin can be used for illicit purposes due to its anonymity. Moreover, the currency doesn’t have any regulation or supervision under it.

Bitcoin Boulevard US is the second such project in the US, where several traders within one region decide to accept bitcoin. The first Bitcoin Boulevard was launched in the Netherlands last month.

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