Joe Biden proposes tax on cryptocurrency mining


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U.S. President Joe Biden’s cryptocurrency mining tax proposal is one of the more ambiguous elements of his budget proposal for next year. Biden seeks to impose a new 30% tax on the electricity used by Bitcoin miners, regardless of its source. This means that many miners may possibly relocate to other countries.

President Biden in March presented his budget proposal focused on fiscal year 2025. In the proposal, he laid out three changes to the way federal law operates as it relates to cryptocurrencies. There are some positive changes, such as applying securities regulations already in place to cryptocurrencies. Although, there is also one negative change and that is an excise tax on crypto mining.

First, the proposal is made up of two regulatory changes. The first change is the elimination of a tax loophole that gives cryptocurrency traders the ability to deduct losses on assets that they first sell and buy back quickly. The second change involves implementing non-recognition rules for security loans involving actively traded crypto assets.

The first change only extends the rules that are already in place for trading both stocks and bonds to cryptocurrencies. This is a great example of the government creating a stable playing field for similar asset classes without creating new and tedious regimes.

Cryptocurrency mining under the microscope

Biden’s proposal for a crypto mining tax introduces stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin (BTC) exists in digital ledgers stored on millions of computers globally. To update the ledger with new transactions, these computers compete for validation of those transactions. This is called mining, and the validating terminal is rewarded with bitcoin.

Mining is vital for any type of decentralized cryptocurrency, because it provides the incentive to host and update the bitcoin ledger. However, both Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies often rely on centralized platforms such as exchanges and online wallets for transactions. The advantage of a decentralized method of transferring assets lies in eliminating a single point of control or failure.

Implications of the mining tax

Biden’s proposal would impose a 30% tax on electricity used in any crypto mining, whether the electricity is drawn from the public grid or generated on-site. This would dramatically increase the costs of mining in the United States, and cause many miners to be forced to operate in other countries. Similar to the effects of China’s ban on crypto trading, this policy will not eliminate cryptocurrency use in the U.S. Instead, it would simply force innovators in the crypto space to consider operating in countries where they have much looser regulations.

The plan clearly seems intended to satisfy the environmental concerns that many activists have raised regarding crypto mining. However, the proposal is criticized for not differentiating between sustainably generated electricity and that sourced from non-renewable providers. The 30% threshold seems excessive, significantly raising the cost of crypto mining, which could prompt miners to relocate to countries with more favorable regulations.

This is not the first time the Biden administration has attempted to implement a 30% tax on electricity used by cryptocurrency miners. On March 9, 2023, Biden made the same attempt to tax miners in the 2024 budget proposal.

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