Montana Governor Greg Gianforte recently signed into law a bill designed to protect the rights of cryptocurrency miners. SB178 effectively prevents local governments in the state from passing laws prohibiting cryptocurrency mining. It achieves this by revising existing laws, banning discriminatory electrical rates aimed at mining companies, and disallowing taxation on crypto used as a payment method.
The decision to pass SB178 highlights the seemingly preemptive nature of the legislation, as questions of regulation regarding digital asset mining have faced difficulties in various states across the US. One such example is Texas, where, in April, lawmakers from the state Senate introduced a bill with the intent to limit incentives for crypto miners receiving compensation for load reductions on the state’s power grid.
Crypto advocacy group Satoshi Action Fund has been supporting pro-mining legislation in different parts of the US. Arkansas, another state influenced by the group’s efforts, passed a bill comparable to Montana’s SB178. Although Satoshi Action Fund CEO Dennis Porter reported that Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders already signed the bill into law, the legislature’s website had yet to confirm the move.
Porter maintained that progress can be made at the state level, with the federal government having limited influence over legislative decisions. He explained that proponents of the crypto industry have been making strides in several other states as well.
On the other hand, Mississippi’s pro-mining bill ‘died’ in March, while a similar bill currently sought after in Missouri is lagging behind in the legislative process. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been contemplating a 30% tax on cryptocurrency miners at the federal level as part of the proposed fiscal year 2024 budget. This tax might target miners’ electricity usage in the long run.
In conclusion, Montana’s new legislation puts the state at the forefront of the ongoing battle over cryptocurrency mining rights and regulations. By revising existing laws, it safeguards miners’ interests and prevents the potential misuse of state power regarding the crypto industry. While some may argue that this decision represents a positive step in embracing an inevitable blockchain future, opponents could express concerns over the environmental implications of promoting energy-intensive mining operations. As more states follow suit, introducing their own mining-related bills, this delicate balance between fostering innovation and exercising prudent oversight will undoubtedly continue to take center stage in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.