Biden’s mining tax is the least sensible part of his 2025 budget proposal

President Biden unveiled his budget plan for fiscal year 2025 in March, which included modifications to how federal law applies to cryptocurrencies. Three key adjustments were suggested. Some of these changes are beneficial, like applying current securities laws to digital currencies. However, there’s a less favorable proposal: imposing a unique tax on crypto mining activities.

Initially, the suggestion encompasses two key regulatory adjustments. The first modification involves abolishing a tax advantage that enables cryptocurrency traders to subtract losses on sold assets and then promptly repurchase them. The second amendment introduces security loan nonrecognition rules for actively-traded crypto asset loans.

The initial adjustment extends current regulations governing stock and bond transactions to cryptocurrencies, ensuring fairness among comparable financial instruments without introducing excessive red tape.

At present, it’s not permitted to buy back stocks that were previously sold for a loss within a 30-day timeframe. Doing so is considered wash trading, and tax losses from such transactions can’t be claimed.

In the world of cryptocurrencies, the rules can be more unclear compared to traditional investments. Under present regulations, it’s uncertain when traders are allowed to repurchase their crypto assets after selling them, but they frequently do so within less than a month’s time. They recognize their losses for tax purposes and then quickly buy back the same crypto assets, effectively realizing a loss without actually losing those assets. The distinction between stocks and crypto is due to regulatory lag rather than inherent differences between cryptocurrencies and securities.

Biden's mining tax is the least sensible part of his 2025 budget proposal

The second adjustment adheres to a comparable framework and imposes securities laws on crypto transactions. While it’s essential to note that crypto trading isn’t identical to traditional financial markets, shared traits enable regulators to transfer regulations from conventional finance to digital assets when needed. In the context of lending out traditional securities such as pensions or mutual funds, the lender won’t have to acknowledge losses and gains if they receive back securities of equal value. Applying this principle to virtual currencies would make many loans tax-free, similar to securities transactions.

The Biden administration has proposed two plans that extend regulatory oversight to the crypto industry, without establishing a new agency or imposing excessive restrictions on it as it continues to grow.

Unfortunately, Biden’s proposal for a crypto mining tax takes the opposite approach to crypto.

Bitcoin (BTC) operates on a decentralized network of digital ledgers, maintained by a vast number of computers worldwide. Whenever a new transaction occurs, these computers race against each other to authenticate it through a process known as mining. Once a computer successfully validates the transaction, it is added to the ledger and the miner receives newly minted Bitcoins as a reward.

Mining plays a crucial role in any decentralized cryptocurrency as it offers incentives for people to maintain and update the transaction records, such as the Bitcoin ledger. In the absence of mining, we would require a central authority, like fintechs or online banks, to manage these transactions. The beauty of a decentralized system is that it eliminates the need for a single point of control or failure.

The Biden administration’s plan includes a 30% tax on the electricity consumption for all cryptocurrency mining, regardless of whether it comes from the grid or is self-generated. This significant increase in expenses would likely cause numerous American crypto miners to relocate their operations to countries with more lenient regulations. Contrary to popular belief, this measure won’t eliminate crypto usage within the US entirely. Instead, it will push crypto innovators to explore opportunities in regions that offer more favorable regulatory frameworks.

The proposed plan appears to address the environmental concerns voiced by activists about crypto mining. However, it lacks differentiation between privately sourced and sustainable electricity and electricity obtained from nonrenewable sources. Furthermore, the 30 percent threshold is deemed too high, significantly raising the cost of crypto mining which could potentially be relocated to other countries due to crypto’s global presence.

The Biden administration should avoid undermining their productive regulatory improvements for mining with a hefty tax. In the realm of regulation, significant yet sensible adjustments are necessary. By implementing securities trading regulations on crypto, the administration can achieve positive results without applying excessive pressure. Subtle modifications in this sector could bring about considerable improvements.

Isaac Schick is a policy analyst with the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit research group based in Washington, D.C. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from California Polytechnic State University.

The following article is meant to provide basic information only and doesn’t constitute legal or financial advice. The ideas shared here are solely those of the author and may not align with the perspectives of CryptoMoon.

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2024-04-10 01:41