Montana’s House of Representatives passed a landmark bill that seeks to enshrine the rights of crypto miners and prohibit local authorities from obstructing crypto mining operations. The bill, numbered 178, was passed during its third reading by a vote of 64 to 35 on April 12, and it will become law once Governor Greg Gianforte signs it.
The legislation establishes a “digital asset mining right” for crypto miners and forbids any discriminatory electricity rates charged to them. Additionally, it seeks to safeguard mining operations that take place “at home” and remove the authority of local governments to use zoning laws to impede crypto-mining activities. The bill also bars any extra taxes on using cryptocurrency as a means of payment, and it categorizes “digital assets,” including cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and nonfungible tokens, as “personal property.“
The legislation’s main aim is to provide a clear framework for crypto miners to operate in Montana, removing any ambiguity and hindrances that local governments might impose. It also limits the power of local authorities by restricting them from imposing different requirements on mining centers compared to those on data centers. Additionally, authorities cannot prevent crypto mining in industrial areas and private homes. The revised version of the bill is much more concise, with section three significantly shortened from its previous length, which was nearly three full pages and included several articles unrelated to crypto mining.
The bill’s sponsor, state Senator Daniel Zolnikov, is a member of the Republican Party, as is Governor Gianforte. Therefore, it is unlikely that Gianforte will veto the bill. Upon signing, Montana will join the ranks of other states in the US, such as Wyoming and Texas, that have passed legislation to promote crypto mining.
The passing of this bill comes at a time when crypto mining is facing increased scrutiny from environmentalists and governments alike. Critics argue that the energy-intensive nature of crypto mining contributes to carbon emissions, which exacerbates climate change. However, supporters of crypto mining argue that it provides economic benefits and job opportunities in areas where traditional industries have declined.
The passing of this bill could boost Montana’s economy, especially in areas where traditional industries have struggled. It will provide clarity to crypto miners and could attract more businesses and investors to the state. Furthermore, the legislation could inspire other states to follow suit and develop a clear framework for crypto mining, ensuring that the US remains competitive in the global crypto market.
In early April, a similar bill protecting crypto miners from discriminatory regulations and taxes passed through the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate and now awaits Governor Doug Ducey’s decision. The passing of these bills highlights a growing trend in the US, where states are taking proactive steps to attract crypto businesses and investors, providing clarity and protection for this burgeoning industry.