Montana’s ‘right to mine’ crypto bill moves closer to passing as law

A cryptocurrency mining rights bill with laws that would prohibit the discrimination of crypto miners is one step closer to fruition after passing the Montana Senate.

The proposed laws would enshrine a “right to mine digital assets” and would prohibit “discriminatory” electricity rates being charged to crypto miners, protect mining that occurs “at home” and strip local governments of the power to use zoning laws to stop crypto mining operations.

It also prohibits additional taxes on the use of crypto as a payment method and would consider “digital assets,” including cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens, as “personal property” alongside other financial products such as stocks and bonds.

The bill was passed in the state Senate on Feb. 23 with a vote of 37 for and 13 against and will head to the House for approval. If it is passed there as well, the final step would be for it to be signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte, who could also choose to veto the bill.

Text from the bill outlining its provisions and some of the reasoning for the laws. Source: Montana State Legislature

The bill outlined that Montana wants to “protect the right to mine” crypto and “create legal certainty” for miners as mining “provides positive economic value” and could potentially “stabilize the grid and provide revenue for infrastructure upgrades.”

The bill was written with the help of the Satoshi Action Fund, a pro-Bitcoin (BTC) lobbying group.

Related: Hut 8 CEO weighs in on the bull and bear markets from a mining perspective

Dennis Porter, CEO of the advocacy body, told Cointelegraph in a January interview that leaders in Montana have used zoning laws to attempt to push miners out and have considered imposing higher electricity rates on miner operations.

In April 2019, Missoula County in Montana passed rules that required miners to operate only in light and heavy industrial districts and required miners to exclusively use renewable energy. If passed, the law would overturn the county’s zoning ordinance.

In early February, the Mississippi state Senate passed a similar bill seeking to protect crypto miners from discrimination and is working its way to the states House.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s Digital Asset Mining Protection Act, which aims to protect the rights of crypto miners, was introduced to the state legislature in mid-January.

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