The last year has been unkind to bitcoin as the price has fallen almost 60% from its peak. That has dampened much of the hype surrounding Bitcoin, but not all. There are still many who believe in the future of cryptocurrency, including Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers.
Rogers, a pro-Donald Trump Republican elected to the Arizona Senate in 2020, filed a bill on Tuesday that would make Bitcoin legal tender in the state. following in, whose polarizing president made bitcoin legal tender in 2021, if passed, the law would give bitcoin the same legal status as the US dollar. It could be used to pay off debts, taxes, and as a commercial medium of exchange.
The bills are co-sponsored by Rogers’ Republican Senate colleagues Jeff Weninger and JD Mesnard. Without support from the Democrats, the bills could pass with the unified support of Republican senators and state officials. Republicans hold 16 of the 30 seats in the Arizona Senate and 31 of the 60 seats in the House of Representatives.
However, a similar bill introduced by Rogers in 2022 was quickly shot down. Rogers has also proposed allowing voters in 2024 to decide whether cryptocurrency should be tax-exempt in the state.
“Centralized digital money controlled by central bankers is slavery.” Rogers tweeted in April, echoing Bitcoin’s libertarian roots. “Decentralized Bitcoin is freedom.”
Best known for adopting Bitcoin as legal tender is El Salvador. Led by President Nayib Bukele, the country has spent an estimated $107 million buying Bitcoin, with these holdings now worth about half that amount. The ailing country’s government spent an additional estimated $268 million to build digital infrastructure for Bitcoin, including a $30 incentive for everyone who signed up for official Bitcoin wallet Chivo.
Critics say Bitcoin adoption was a price the heavily indebted country could not afford. Proponents say that bitcoin is a more efficient means of remittance and that the country’s strong post-COVID tourism recovery is due at least in part to cryptotourism.
Arizona isn’t the only one grappling with cryptocurrency regulation. Last week, lawmakers in Missouri and Mississippi attempted to draft a law protecting civil liberties over bitcoin mining, a power-hungry process.