Gov. DeSantis wants to allow Floridians to pay taxes with cryptocurrency

by | Mar 23, 2022

 

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his desire to grant Floridians the ability to pay taxes using cryptocurrency, embracing the burgeoning crypto hub that Florida has become. Miami in particular is home to quickly-growing crypto communities, serving as the location of some of crypto’s largest players, also launching MiamiCoin, the city’s proprietary form of digital currency.

The governor, who has for some time pushed bitcoin adoption, also noted the difference between cryptos that were decentralized versus that of a centrally issued digital dollar, which he said presents “a lot of hazards” when it’s regulated by a central oversight body, like the federal government.

“I worry about the amount of power that would give someone — an essential authority — to basically be able to shut off access to purchasing certain goods,” DeSantis said. “We’d be in uncharted territories. I’ve told state agencies to figure out a way that if a business wants to pay tax in cryptocurrency to Florida, we should be willing to accept that,” DeSantis said. “So we’re working through that.”

Pew Research reports that roughly one in six Americans have personally traded, used, or invested in cryptocurrency. With that number expected to proliferate as trading becomes more accessible to the average person, crypto’s future could look brighter than just tax payments.

DeSantis said he proposed measures in the 2022-23 state budget that sought to enable businesses to pay state fees in crypto, even going so far as to propose leveraging blockchain technology for use in pilot programs to govern certain backend functions within the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Medicaid payments, among other areas. However, state lawmakers rejected the measure.

“I actually had some money in the budget the legislature didn’t pick up to try to do some experiment with blockchain technology on some of the state functions,” DeSantis said. The proposed measures failed to pass into law via the Florida Legislature’s 2022 session, which ended on March 14 with bipartisan approval of a $112 billion budget.

Crypto has especially gained traction among politicians as of late, embraced by leaders at all levels. Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried in January announced that a political action committee that is supporting her campaign, Florida Consumers First, would accept donations in cryptocurrency, becoming the first politician in state history to do so. In a similar move, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez pushed for Miami residents to receive their paychecks and pay for their property taxes in bitcoin.

“It’s wonderful to be a very crypto-forward city in the city of Miami and I want to thank my commission colleagues for allowing that to happen,” said Suarez.

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