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Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100239928@N08/

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100239928@N08/

The Texas Coinitiative, a cryptocurrency advocacy group in the Lonestar State, recently sent an inquiry letter to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission hoping to clarify a fundamental question: Is it legal to buy alcohol with bitcoin? According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), it’s not a problem.

TABC Director of Communications and Governmental Relations Carolyn Beck stated: “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 broader question of buying alcohol with bitcoin is highly relevant, as many states still have Prohibition-era laws on the books constraining how alcohol can be purchased. In many states, for instance, so-called “high gravity beers” are technically illegal because their alcohol content is higher than the legal limits set back in the 1930s. Similar issues about what defines a legal purchase of alcohol has caused significant problems with a proposed “Bitcoin Boulevard” in Cleveland, Ohio, as state law requires all sales to take place in dollars.

The Texas announcement follows a similar statement by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) last month, also confirming that bitcoin acceptance was entirely the decision of the establishment, not the state.

Given that one of the indicators of mainstream bitcoin adoption is being able to “buy a beer” with it, the Texas decision is symbolically important. Even the popular bitcoin tipbot ChangetTip recognizes “a beer” as default amount, currently set to $3.50.

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