Gov. Jared Polis Wants Colorado to Accept Crypto for State Taxes

"I'd love to set that up," the blockchain-friendly governor said at Consensus 2021.

AccessTimeIconMay 26, 2021 at 2:26 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:01 p.m. UTC
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he’s hopeful state residents can pay their taxes with crypto, and he wants it to happen soon.

“I’d be thrilled to be the first state to let you pay your taxes in a variety of cryptos," he said Tuesday at Consensus 2021.

As a congressman, Polis became the first politician to legally accept campaign donations in bitcoin after a favorable 2014 FEC ruling. In response to a U.S. senator who was more interested in banning bitcoin than building a federal structure to support cryptocurrencies, Polis satirically suggested a ban on U.S. dollars by replacing each instance of BTC in the Senator's letter with "dollar bills."

“The exchange of dollar bills, including high denomination bills, is currently unregulated and has allowed users to participate in illicit activity," he wrote.

Since he trolled legislators on Capitol Hill, Polis has become the Rocky Mountain State's chief executive, and on Tuesday he sounded excited to be at the forefront of accommodating legislation for crypto.

“Colorado is and will be the center for blockchain innovation in the United States, attracting investments and good jobs and innovators in infrastructure, digital identity, [and] individual data security in the private and public sector,” he said.

One huge step would be to allow Coloradoans to pay state taxes with digital assets. Pilots in other states haven’t gone so well.

In 2018, companies in Ohio were able to pay taxes through OhioCrypto.com, with processor BitPay converting the bitcoin payments to dollars for the treasurer's office. Arizona and Illinois considered accepting crypto for tax payments but advocates failed to push through legislation.

The Ohio program ended in 2019 under new treasurer Robert Sprague, who said that only 10 companies had used OhioCrypto.com to pay taxes.

A short-lived program in Seminole County, Fla., ended sometime after the county treasurer was arrested.

With far more infrastructure for crypto today, however, the adoption of state tax payments seems more plausible, and Polis sounded eager to be at the front of the pack. As a next step, he said he would speak to Colorado's director of revenue, Mark Ferrandino.

He also joked that “Colorado has better nightlife than Wyoming,” a neighboring crypto-friendly state, spurring a response from Wyoming's leading champion in the blockchain community, Caitlin Long.

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