Ron Wyden, a Democratic Senator, is investigating the activities of crypto firms that are taking advantage of the tax incentives they are offered by the Opportunity Zone program. The main concern of Senator Wyden is the perception that some of these companies could be exploiting what he referred to as the lack of transparency measures and safeguards that are part of the Opportunity Zone program. The senator raised these concerns in letters that he had sent to one individual and two companies. He wants to know how they are providing low income communities the required reciprocal support that has been stipulated in the rules of the Opportunity Zone program.
The senator from Oregon had written the letters to Blake Christian, a specialist accountant of Opportunity Zone, who is from the accounting company HCVT. As for the two companies that received the letter, they were RedividerBlockchain and Argo Blockchain. The Opportunity Zone program had been implemented back in 2017 and its aim was to provide companies with tax incentives, as they help in driving private investment in communities that are economically distressed and also create jobs. In his letter to the two aforementioned crypto companies, the senator asked them to provide information about the extent to which they are engaged in the Opportunity Zone program.
He also questioned them about when they had become involved in the program. He has also requested for information about the number of jobs the companies have helped create via their operations, which is one of the primary Common Good contributions that had led to the development of the program. The senator wants to know the activities of the companies that are taking full advantage of the tax incentives that the program has to offer. Peter Wall, the chief executive of Argo Blockchain, had said last July that they had chosen that they had specifically chosen the location of the company’s mining facility because it was part of the Opportunity Zone program and also had renewable energy resources.
The company’s mining facility is located in Dickens County, Texas. The CEO had said at the time that the facility would be able to create jobs for reinvigorating the community, which is one of the primary concerns of the Democrat senator. As for Redivider, Wyden had first wondered about the company’s participation in the Opportunity Zone program back in February 2022. That’s when the company’s chief executive, Tim Frazier, had stated that they would have opened their mining facility 100%, regardless of the tax break.
Currently, Redivider’s Opportunity Zone fund, which is worth $250 million, is only open to accredited investors. As for Christian, he has been asked to provide information regarding the crypto mining projects that his clients have invested in, which are part of the Opportunity Zone, and the number of jobs these companies are creating. Christian had also stated previously that his clients were interested in saving money because they would have to pay capital gains taxes in the short-term. This means that they are only looking to invest in mining companies to get a tax break for offsetting their capital gains taxes.