New Hampshire has a well-earned reputation for being one of the most libertarian, progressive, and affluent municipalities in the United States. And we have covered its natural love of the revolutionary digital currency Bitcoin here at CCN. Now, the one of the smallest states in the Union is looking to take a leading step in United States history with the proposal to allow New Hampshire residents to pay taxes and other state-sanctioned fees in Bitcoin.
New Hampshire looking to work with Bitcoin
New Hampshire House Bill “NH HB552“, introduced February 12th by eight New Hampshire state representatives, looks to make New Hampshire the first state to officially accept Bitcoin for taxes and fees. The first public hearing on this matter was held on Friday and will continue on Tuesday, as the hearing ran long with many testimonies from the Bitcoin community.
The set-up of the hearing is very similar to the Canadian Senate inquiry last year where Bitcoin legend Andreas Antonopoulos was the featured expert, and educated the committee on Bitcoin’s value as a payment method. The older legislators needed more education on what Bitcoin is, in general, to understand how Bitcoin works in the real world instead of the standard debit/credit card transaction.
“A number of you probably grew up using only cash. And then we got these things called credit cards. And then we got these things called debit cards, right? Well, all we’ve (younger Bitcoin users) even known is debit cards; it’s all digital to us. It’s all digital money; it’s all virtual money. I never actually touch a dollar bill. I just swipe a card to make a payment. How is that different than Bitcoin? It’s the same exact process,” states Andrew Hemingway, former candidate for New Hampshire state governor.
It is not clear from these proceedings what processor, BitPay or Coinbase, would run these transactions for the state, but both their names came up. What is clear is that the costs to New Hampshire for such transactions would be zero, and all transactions would remove any currency fluctuation risks, as the price of a payment would be frozen in time, and then converted to dollars at the close of the business day.
An interesting exchange occurred between one committee member and Dr. Darren Tapp, a local mathematics professor who uses Bitcoin.
“(Holding up different dollar bill denominations) We know what these dollars are worth. How do we know what a Bitcoin is worth, other than the word (of it’s users)?”
“I would suggest that we don’t know what that dollar is worth. In our youth, a dollar might’ve bought several packages of gum or several candy bars. Now, you are lucky if that buys you one candy bar, and there are candy bars that cost more than that dollar. I can tell you that (dollar) will be worth less tomorrow.”
This is a great step forward for Bitcoin, and for New Hampshire, and it shows a real interest in the technology at a high level of government. Canada last year also should be applauded for taking a fact-finding, inquisitive approach to future payment technologies, and not running from it out of fear, nations like Russia and Bangladesh have made news in so doing.
New Hampshire was the top state in the union for Bitcoin user transactions in 2009 and 2010. Making Bitcoin legal tender, in effect, for payment will only enhance its standing nationally as a leader in the Bitcoin community now, and in the future. And it will attract many businesses and jobs to the state that are lost by more fearful and onerous locales, like New York with their BitLicense proposals. We’ll keep you informed on this story as it progresses.
Images from Shutterstock.
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