Overstock, the online retailer and blockchain company, announced Thursday (Jan. 3) that it will pay a portion of its state business taxes in Ohio in bitcoin, becoming the first major U.S. company to pay state taxes in bitcoin.
In a press release, Overstock said it plans to pay its commercial activity taxes (CAT) in Ohio this coming February using the state's recently launched OhioCrypto.com platform, which lets taxpayers pay state business taxes with bitcoin. Ohio is the first U.S. state to offer this way of paying for business taxes, noted Overstock in the press release.
“We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation over these technologies) is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy,” Overstock CEO and Founder Patrick M. Byrne said in prepared remarks. “We are proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.”
Paying taxes via bitcoin is not the first milestone for the online retailer, which is morphing into a leader in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. It became the first major retailer to accept cryptocurrencies for purchases beginning in 2014, and also founded Medici Ventures, its unit that is focused on applying blockchain technology to existing industries to get rid of the middlemen.
“We applaud Overstock for becoming the first national brand in America to register to pay taxes via cryptocurrency," said Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the same press release. "Their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time, and we’re proud to have them join OhioCrypto.com.”
When discussing quarterly earnings for Overstock in November, CEO Byrne said the company's blockchain efforts will enable it to expand into new markets, such as debt, real estate and other asset classes that can be tokenized. At the time, he said that while there is competition, Overstock has the advantage of being ahead of everyone else.