While other states like Ohio have shown bizarre resistance to payments in Bitcoin for alcoholic beverages despite its residents hosting a Bitcoin boulevard last month, Texas has demonstrated once again that it is ahead of the pack by a wide margin as far as Bitcoin adoption and regulation is concerned.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has recently received an inquiry from CoinVault ATM CEO and founding member of the Texas Coininitiative Sheldon Weisfeld. The Texas Coininitiative is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the acceptance of Bitcoin in the lone star state.
The aim of Mr. Sheldon’s question was to bring the issue of paying for alcohol using cryptocurrencies in the state of Texas to light. Yesterday, Carolyn Beck of the TABC responded:
“Unlike Ohio state law, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code does not require the customer to pay in money when purchasing an alcoholic beverage from a TABC-licensed establishment. Specifically, I am talking about a retailer, winery, brewery or distillery selling to the ultimate consumer. The acceptance of digital currency such as Bitcoin from a consumer in this situation is the establishment’s choice.”
The TABC is the state agency responsible for regulating all phases of the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas, which includes regulating sales, taxation, importation, manufacturing, transporting, and advertising of alcoholic beverages.
TABC’s statement essentially gives the go-ahead for alcohol to be sold for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, for example, depending on the preference of the TABC-licensed seller. More importantly, the decision brings much needed clarity for both alcohol vendors and consumers regarding the regulatory framework and eliminating the risk and confusion of a grey-market type scenario for both parties.
In response the Texas Coin initiative stated on its website:
“The Texas Coinitiative applauds the TABC and their move to reassure merchants that accepting Bitcoin will not jeopardize their alcohol license. In the next few months, in light of the cleared regulatory haze, several alcohol-serving businesses around the state will likely announce their acceptance of Bitcoin.”
Now that Texas has given the green light, it joins the ranks of other states such as California, which also permitted the sale of alcohol (for anyone over 21) using cryptocurrencies as payment at the beginning of last month.
The additional form of payment using cryptocurrencies could potentially boost revenue for the TABC, which collects over $US 200 million annually in taxes and fees that are funneled towards the state’s public schools, local governments, research, and other state services. Meanwhile, the Texas Coinitiative is planning a Bitcoin Embassy in Houston, Texas in the near future.