Could one US state recognize bitcoin as a currency first?

Love it or hate it, the United States is a wonderful machine, essentially created by a group of like-mined people with a big idea. From a single document, it has since flourished into something of a modern marvel which many countries have tried to replicate. Sound familiar?

Yeah, bitcoin is an idea from a group of like-mined people that has grown into something of a modern masterpiece of human achievement. It has been touted as the solution to most of the world’s economic and social problems at one stage or another. Whether any of these come to fruition is another matter, but regardless of how you feel about bitcoin, or the United States, they have both changed the world, and they are both here to stay.

There has been a lot of media recently about bitcoin being recognized as a legal currency in various countries including the US. This has many implications for both bitcoin and the country in question, but in summary, the main sticking point seems to revolve around the regulation of bitcoin. One of the unique features of the US is that each state is free to make their own laws, which could extend to laws about bitcoin.

Three states which could jump first are New Hampshire, California, and Texas.

Of all the US states, New Hampshire is not only the most bitcoin friendly state, but is also known as the “World’s Most Bitcoin Friendly Community”. It also happens to be the state that takes its rights and freedom very seriously. In fact, the state motto is “Live Free or Die” and they lead the way in freedom-oriented legislature which bitcoin fits into nicely.

The approach taken by California is more of a nurture and let it grow approach, which is proving very successful to date. The majority of bitcoin oriented jobs in the US are found in California, as well as being home to the majority of bitcoin venture capital investment start-ups.

Texas is anything but subtle in it’s approach, which is no surprise given it is a state with no income tax and even operates its own electrical network. It has proven to be friendly to digital innovation and also has a number of fierce bitcoin advocates. It even has a regulatory framework in place which would prove favorable for bitcoin exchanges.

Despite all this, there is one little sticking point for any state that goes ahead and recognizes bitcoin as a legal currency, and that’s the overriding Federal Law. As already mentioned, all states are free to make their own laws, however, if any of those laws violate Federal Laws, then the State law becomes invalid… bummer. Many of you in the US probably already knew that!

The major bummer, is the National Banking Act of 1865 which established a National banking system, and also a single national currency – the mighty US dollar – you may have heard of it. But, whether you are a proponent of regulation or not, you can’t deny the fact that this single Act was pivotal in ending the American Civil War as it allowed the North to adequately finance the war effort, and it also paved the way for America to become the largest economy in the world.

So, although it’s unlikely that this Act will be altered at the Federal level, or that bitcoin will be recognized as a legal currency in a single US state anytime soon, the fact that many US states are becoming more and more ‘bitcoin friendly’ is a good sign for our beloved cryptocurrency.