Back in November 2018, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced an initiative for businesses to use bitcoin to pay their state taxes. Since the program began late last year, however, only two transactions have been accepted through the state's BitPay-based platform, according to Treasurer Robert Sprague.
"We're reviewing how [the program] might either be curtailed, how it might be expanded, and what our counterparty risk is with that vendor [BitPay]," Sprague noted.
Sprague also clarified that the Office of the Ohio Treasurer was not accepting cryptocurrency directly. Through the platform, the payment processor BitPay would exchange bitcoin for US dollars, which would then be transmitted to the treasurer's office.
Although the bitcoin tax platform has yielded lackluster results thus far, several Ohioans are hopeful about blockchain technology's continued role in the state. For example, an initiative called Blockland Cleveland aims to transform the Midwestern city into a blockchain hub. The effort's participants are distributed throughout the greater Cleveland area, from car dealer Bernie Moreno (who has been a key cheerleader for Blockland) to Kirsten Ellenbogen, CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center. The movement is comprised of what Moreno calls nodes.
"We've created this movement like a blockchain," Moreno told ETHNews last fall. "Even though I say I'm maybe the cheerleader/somewhat organizer, each node generally [runs] their own things yet [is] incredibly interconnected."
Only time will tell if the bitcoin tax platform will be useful for the state. In the meantime, however, there are other initiatives like Blockland Cleveland that aim to make the Buckeye State a go-to destination for blockchain-related innovation.