The new year has begun just a couple of days ago but has already brought some surprising news for crypto enthusiasts. On Thursday, the US online retailer Overstock announced it would pay part of its business taxes in the state of Ohio with Bitcoin (BTC). The move is a way to promote cryptocurrency use.
Overstock CEO and founder Patrick Byrne said:
“We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation over these technologies) is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy.”
He further added:
“We are proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.”
Ohio is the first US state to accept Bitcoin as a payment method for taxes. In November, twenty-three kinds of business taxes became available for payment in crypto, including utility tax, sales tax, and employee withholdings. As was reported by Coinspeaker, to handle the payment in crypto and conversion to dollars for the tax office, Atlanta-based crypto payment processor BitPay is used.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said:
“We applaud Overstock for becoming the first national brand in America to register to pay taxes via cryptocurrency. Their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time and we’re proud to have them join OhioCrypto.com”.
According to Mandel, many taxpayers choose to use credit cards, which obliges them to pay a 2.5% service fee, but Bitcoin payments will incur a fee of only 1%—and none at all for early filers like Overstock.
Overstock has been accepting Bitcoin for payment since 2014, becoming the first major retailer to allow customers to pay for their online purchases using cryptocurrencies. In 2017, the company also allowed to pay in other types of digital currencies. The company’s subsidiary, Medici Ventures, acts as an investment wing in blockchain startups. In January, Medici plans to launch a security token marketplace. The tZERO token is set to become the primary traded asset on this platform.
Ohio to Go Beyond Bitcoin
Trying to find the most appropriate use cases that Bitcoin can be applied to, Eddie Hughes, a member of the U.K. Parliament for the Walsall North constituency, suggested to give UK residents an opportunity to pay their local taxes and bills using Bitcoin, believing that such an initiative would become a serious step towards mass crypto adoption in the country. However, it is not coming together yet.
As for Ohio, the state may also expand the program to other types of taxes and to individual tax filers. According to Josh Mandel, OhioCrypto is expected to offer the option to pay taxes using a range of cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin starting from 2020.