HARRISBURG – As more countries move toward accepting Bitcoin as legal tender, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) today announced plans to create a task force including the state treasurer, representatives of the state’s major public employee pension funds and other financial and policy experts to study how federal policy changes relating to digital currency could benefit Pennsylvania.
An estimated 2,300 U.S. companies already accept Bitcoin as payment, including major companies like Microsoft, Home Depot and Starbucks. El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender last year, and several other countries have drafted legislation to do the same.
In March, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order calling on federal agencies to study the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies. Last week, California became the first state in the U.S. to formally begin analyzing how to adapt to digital currencies.
“Digital assets like Bitcoin are here to stay, and it is only a matter of time before Congress takes action to regulate their use nationwide,” Corman said. “While we await further guidance from the federal government, it makes sense for Pennsylvania to do our due diligence so we are ready to take advantage of the economic opportunities that will open up.”
Corman also noted that Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to be a leader in Bitcoin mining because of the state’s abundant natural resources. Lawmakers created a sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of computer data center equipment as part of last year’s budget negotiations, paving the way for data mining companies to come to Pennsylvania and create thousands of new jobs.
A similar program created in Virginia in 2017 has created more than 45,000 new jobs and leveraged $10 billion in private investment.
“Mining Bitcoin requires a great deal of energy and computational power. As a global leader in energy, Pennsylvania could be an ideal location for Bitcoin mining operations in the future,” Corman said. “We should always look for economic development opportunities to make our state more prosperous, and Bitcoin mining presents an interesting possibility for our Commonwealth.”
Fort Worth, Texas became the first city government in the U.S. to mine Bitcoin last month.
CONTACT: Jason Thompson