Former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel announced the implementation of a program allowing Ohio businesses to pay their taxes in bitcoin November of last year, just before turning the office over to current treasurer Robert Sprague. Though Sprague had initially praised Mandel’s efforts to keep Ohio on the business-friendly cutting edge, he announced Wednesday that the initiative is now suspended and under review. After a state panel voted for the suspension Sprague told the press: “It was stood up very quickly”, citing the hasty implementation of a program that attorney general Dave Yost is now reviewing for legality.
The state of Ohio has become an unexpected center of American fintech focus in recent years, thanks to remarkable developments at the intersection of crypto, blockchain and government. That said, the online crypto portal that has allowed Ohio businesses to pay their taxes with bitcoin since last year, ohiocrypto.com, has just been suspended due to regulatory concerns. Meanwhile, a local city’s government is pushing forward toward the release of a Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) token for digital identity, voting, and social incentives.
Former Treasurer’s Program Shelved by Sprague
Further troubling the still green initiative was its reported lack of use, with local news outlet cleveland.com reporting that “The state has accepted fewer than 10 tax payments since the program went live.” Mandel had initially hoped to expand the offer to individual Ohioans as well as businesses, but those plans are now on hold until Yost forms a more in-depth evaluation.
Dublin, Ohio’s SLP Still on Track for Release
While Sprague and his crew scrutinize Mandel’s now stymied project, a government SLP initiative just outside the capital is continuing its forward progress, regardless. As news.Bitcoin.com reported in July, Columbus suburb Dublin, Ohio, is on track to release a BCH network SLP token which will function as a digital identity, electronic polling system, and incentive for various civic activities. The project is the brainchild of BCH full node developer Joshua Green, who created the Bitcoin Verde full node implementation and is currently working with City of Dublin CIO Doug McCollough to bring the project to fruition.
Speaking at the recent Bitcoin Cash City conference in Townsville, Australia, Green and McCollough noted that the idea for the token came about via a Request For Proposal (RFP) with Green stating of the city:
They said ‘ we want a digital identity, we want a public polling system, and we want a token of value. ‘
A visit to the City of Dublin’s official website shows that Green and McCollough’s initiative is well on track, and will soon be tested. The site references a Columbus Underground report which describes the program, stating: “Once testing begins, few hundred residents will be able to voluntarily participate through an app and begin performing actions like participating in mock public meetings, answering test polling questions, and redeeming rewards, or Dublin Points, for small items.”
The token is designed to provide individuals in Dublin with a more secure and transparent means of personal identification, and to ensure fairness in polling procedures. This not to mention incentivizing various civic and community focused activities. With the fate of Mandel’s bitcoin for taxes initiative now uncertain, many crypto advocates in Dublin have their fingers crossed for the new SLP token. How the market may choose to privately barter and trade the asset beyond its stated uses is also an interesting prospect for some bitcoiners in the buckeye state.