Montana governor signs pro-cryptocurrency mining bill into law

Greg Gianforte, the governor of Montana, has signed into law a bill largely preventing local governments in the state from passing laws prohibiting cryptocurrency mining.

According to records with the Montana legislature, Gianforte signed S.B. 178 into law on May 2 after the bill had passed both the state House and Senate. The legislation effectively enshrines crypto miners’ rights in the state by revising existing laws, prohibiting discriminatory electrical rates for mining firms and not allowing taxation for crypto used as a method of payment.

The latest version of the bill suggested that the legislation was introduced partly as a preventive measure in response to certain proposals in other states – i.e. “digital asset mining has often faced difficulty with regulations at the state and local level.” For example, in April, lawmakers in the Texas state Senate introduced a bill aimed at limiting incentives for crypto miners through participation in a program intended to compensate them for load reductions on the state’s power grid.

Crypto advocacy group Satoshi Action Fund has supported pro-mining legislation in certain states. Lawmakers in the Arkansas state House and Senate passed a bill similar to Montana’s S.B. 178. Satoshi Action Fund CEO Dennis Porter reported Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders had already signed this bill into law, but the legislature’s website did not show such an action at the time of publication.

“At the state level, we can have a lot of progress, we can move things forward, and there isn’t a whole lot the federal government can do in the meantime,” said Porter.

Related: The economics of cryptocurrency mining: Costs, revenues and market trends

Similar pro-mining legislation had been moving forward in the Mississippi state legislature, but the bill “died” in March. Porter said a Missouri bill was “a further little behind in the process” but still progressing in the legislature.

At the federal level, the Biden administration recently renewed a push for a 30% tax on cryptocurrency miners as part of an FY2024 budget proposal. The tax would potentially target miners’ electricity usage.

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