A bill drafted by Rep. Marc K. Roberts proposes that Utah accept bitcoin payments for state services. Its first reading in the state legislature took place on Tuesday.
The bill notes how Utah was “founded upon the principles of industry and entrepreneurialism” and that “technological industries, including industries in emerging technologies, play an increasingly important role in Utah’s economy and culture.” Therefore, the state should accept bitcoin, which is “based on the principles of free-market capitalism and is not centrally regulated.”
Practically, the bill says, merchants save on transaction fees with bitcoin relative to other payment mechanisms. It also points to the fact that several companies already accept bitcoin for payment, including Utah-based Overstock.com.
It also offers some more questionable arguments, such as the fact that bitcoin’s market cap is valued at about $3.3 billion.
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The bill also proposes the creation of a special council to assess the suitability of bitcoin acceptance. It would consist of representatives from the Office of the State Treasurer, the Division of Finance, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the State Tax Commission, other relevant government subdivisions, merchants already accepting bitcoin and local advocacy groups.
Among the council’s tasks would be to determine how the state can minimize its exposure to risk when accepting bitcoin.
The short title of the bill does not mention bitcoin or refer to cryptocurrencies. It reads, “Concurrent Resolution on Payment Options for State Services.”
A very similar bill was drafted only a few days ago in New Hampshire, proposing the state accept bitcoin for taxes and fees by 2017.