The City of Austin, TX, could soon begin accepting crypto as payment for city services. If the recent resolution passes, residents of the city will be allowed to pay city taxes, penalties, and fees in Bitcoin and other crypto coins.
Austin’s Crypto Plan
The Austin City Council recently passed a resolution, which calls for a fact-finding study regarding the adoption of Bitcoin and other crypto coins. The resolution was presented by Council Member Mackenzie Kelly on Thursday, March 24, 2022. According to a local media report, Kelly’s goal is to make “Austin be the leader.” Her goal is to find out if it is even possible for the city to accept crypto or hold it in the city’s account books.
With the resolution having been approved, the City will look into issues such as financial stability, equity, security, and consumer benefits and risks. Kelly added that she had met a lot of people who do not own bank accounts and use crypto as their primary means of payment. According to her, before offering crypto payments as an option, the city would first need to see if it was possible to do so.
The results of the study will be out by mid-June. One professor, talking to the local media house, said that there was little risk for the city to accept crypto. The professor noted that there was a workaround to the issue of volatility.
According to him, the city could receive payment in crypto and then immediately convert it into cash. As a result, there is no risk involved with the city holding crypto. The professor noted that there were already well-established payment processors that accept crypto payments from users and then give dollars to Austin for a small fee. He noted that this was very similar to the use of debit and credit card transactions.
Criticism of the Resolution
During a discussion of the resolution, Council Member Leslie Pool criticized the idea of the city accepting crypto. According to Pool, it was the “lack of oversight and accountability for these currencies,” which she found to be troubling. Pool added that she did not see that changing any time soon.
How Soon Austin Could Begin Accepting Crypto
Once the study is concluded, it is not clear how soon after the city would begin accepting crypto. However, if it does, it would not be without precedence in the US. The state of Florida is also mulling accepting crypto as payment for state taxes. In Miami, residents can already pay for services in crypto. One Bloomberg report states that Miami could soon begin paying city employees with crypto.
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