Oklahoma saddles up bill of rights for crypto wranglers and miners

Bitcoin cowboys now have guaranteed freedoms

Oklahoma's governor has signed a bill into law defining legal rights for one of the most marginalized groups in the US – cryptocurrency holders.

Beginning November 1, 2024, every Oklahoman will have the inalienable right to self-custody of their digital assets and the right to mine cryptocurrency at home, with the only restriction being that home rigs do not violate local noise ordinances. 

Oklahomans are also being granted the right to purchase legal goods and services with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and the government can't "prohibit, restrict or otherwise impair the ability of an individual" to do so.

For local citizens passionate about digital liberty, the state is prohibited from levying additional taxes or fees on the use of cryptocurrency. Sales tax, yes; energy fees, no. 

The law also requires state and local governments to treat commercial-scale crypto mining operations the same as datacenters, and not to establish any "discriminatory rates for digital asset mining businesses."

Finally, the law absolves both private individuals and service providers who mine or stake cryptocurrency from liability for processing specific transactions.

"I believe that this bill positions us to draw more of this industry to our state," state representative Brian Hill (R-Mustang), who sponsored the Bitcoin bill of rights, told local news. 

"The great state of Oklahoma isn't saying that we're for, we're against, or any of the above," Hill added. "We're saying this is an entity, this is a commodity, this is something that Oklahomans are interested in owning, we're gonna make sure that they have clarity on it, and that way, that provides protections." 

With the desire to attract cryptocurrency mining operations comes concerns over energy and resource usage. Luckily for Oklahoma, known for the wind that sweeps down its plain, it has renewable energy available in abundance. The fourth-largest producer of wind energy in the US, Oklahoma sources nearly half of its energy from turbines.

Water, of course, is another thing altogether. 

Oklahoma has long been known for its issues with water – e.g. the Dust Bowl – and the state's Environmental Quality department said it has seen an uptick in drought-like weather in recent years. Other areas of Oklahoma are consistently drought-free, which one would hope is where Bitcoin miners would choose to operate given how water-thirsty crypto mining tends to be at large scales.

The bill was signed into law earlier this week by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt. ®

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