Arkansas has taken the next step to approve a bill that protects the right to mine Bitcoin, which now heads to the governor’s office.
The Arkansas State House has passed a bill aimed at regulating the Bitcoin mining industry in the state. Already passed by the State Senate, the bill now heads to the governor’s office for approval. The Arkansas Data Centers Act of 2023 would create guidelines for bitcoin miners and would aim to prevent fraudulent business practices.
The bill proposes that a Bitcoin mining business may operate in the state if it complies with state laws concerning business guidelines and tax policies, any ordinances concerning operations and safety, any rules or rates for utility service provided by or on behalf of a public entity, and state and federal employment laws. The bill also proposes that miners will be required to pay applicable taxes and government fees in acceptable forms of currency and operate in a manner that causes no stress on an electric public utility’s generation capabilities or transmission network. The bill further allows individuals to operate home Bitcoin mining according to applicable utility rules and rates.
The bill aims to recognize that data centers create jobs, pay taxes and provide general economic value to local communities and the state. It clarifies the guidelines needed to protect Bitcoin miners from discriminatory industry-specific regulations and taxes. The proposed bill has defined several key terms such as “digital asset” that means Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It also defines “digital asset miner” as an individual who mines for digital assets and “digital asset mining” as the use of electricity to power a computer for the purpose of securing or validating a blockchain network.
The proposed bill further clarifies that “digital asset mining business” means a group of computers working at a single site that consumes more than one megawatt (1MW) on an average annual basis for the purpose of generating digital assets by securing a blockchain network. It also defines “node” as a computational device that contains a copy of blockchain-distributed ledger technology. The bill defines “residence” as a permanent dwelling place, unit, or accessory structure.
The bill has proposed that the legislative body means the quorum court of a county or the city council, board of directors, board of commissioners or similar elected governing body of local government, and that a person may have a digital asset mining business in an area that is zoned for industrial use that has not been designated by the local government for other uses.