COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s new state treasurer says that so far, very few people have taken up the recently launched option to pay their state taxes in bitcoin.
Appearing before reporters in Columbus Tuesday, Republican Treasurer Robert Sprague was asked about his office’s experiences with the bitcoin payment option set up in December by his predecessor, Josh Mandel. Sprague, who took office in January, said the treasurer’s office has received only two tax payments through OhioCrypto.com, the state’s bitcoin payment platform.
“We’re reviewing how [the program] might be either curtailed or might be expanded, and what our counter-party risk is with that vendor,” Sprague said.
A spokesman later declined to specify the value of the bitcoin tax payments the state has received, saying individual tax information is confidential. However, Bernie Moreno, a politically active Cleveland businessman who has championed the use of cryptocurrency, said in November that he’d paid his business taxes that month in bitcoin.
Sprague spoke at a forum with reporters in Columbus organized by the Associated Press of Ohio.
Sprague emphasized that Ohio doesn’t actually receive or hold bitcoin, the virtual currency that has cratered in value since spiking in 2017. The company hired by the state to process the bitcoin payments converts them into dollars before they are sent to the Ohio treasury. The company, Bitpay, takes a 1 percent commission on the transaction as its payment.
Mandel made a splash, generating state and national news coverage, when he announced Ohio’s bitcoin project in December, just weeks before he left office. His staff said at the time they believe Ohio was the first state to allow residents to pay their taxes in bitcoin.