Ohio Mulls Law to Protect Bitcoin Rights, Scrap Capital Gains Taxes

An Ohio state congressman has introduced legislation that would protect the right to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as peer-to-peer mediums of exchange.

The Ohio Blockchain Basics Act, sponsored by state Rep. Steve Demetriou, “ensures American’s financial freedom” by protecting their right to “buy and sell,” to “mine,” and to “self-custody” their digital assets, as well as to run a personal blockchain node, according to a summary provided by the Satoshi Act Fund.

“This legislation that I recently introduced will lay the foundation for Ohio to become a leader in the blockchain and digital assets industries,” Demetriou posted to Twitter on Thursday.

The text of the bill also advocates for more lenient taxes on cryptocurrencies when used as an actual medium of exchange, suggesting that Bitcoin and other coins should receive the same tax treatment as legal tender in such transactions.

“The general assembly shall not enact a bill that proposes to impose a fee, tax, assessment, or other charge on digital assets used as a method of payment for goods and services that is based on the use of the digital assets as a method of payment,” it states.

The bill even calls for a mandatory evaluation of certain digital asset investments by the state’s retirement systems. The clause includes the evaluation of Bitcoin spot ETFs as an investment option for Ohio’s police, fire, teacher, highway patrol, and public employee pension funds.

Demetriou’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Decrypt.

The legislation makes Ohio the 16th state to introduce legislation this year intended to defend Bitcoin in the face of countering moves by federal lawmakers trying to move in the opposite direction.

Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren have repeatedly pushed legislation to impose Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements on crypto wallet providers, miners, and validators, and crack down on the use of digital assets for criminal activity.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has threatened the mining industry with burdensome reporting requirements and was contemplating a 25% tax on unrealized capital gains for high-net-worth individuals that would also affect crypto whales. That measure has since been is now tabled.

Under Biden’s budget proposal, the regular capital gains tax rate for people earning over $1 million annually would also rise to 44.6%.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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