New York City councilman Mark Levine has proposed a bill that would allow citizens to pay fees and fines to the city using bitcoin. The bill was introduced to the city council on Thursday and it will soon be presented to the city’s technology committee. Councilman Levine supports the adoption of bitcoin payment options on the basis that the new currency is more cost effective than credit cards.
”It started with realizing how much money the city of New York is losing on transaction fees on credit cards, ultimately it’s several million a year because of all sorts of fees and fines.” said Councilman Mark Levine to CoinDesk.
Levine states that the bill could be passed as soon as June of this year. Councilman Levine has stated that other members of the New York City Council are more concerned about the crytocurrency, citing the newness of the currency and the perceptions of its instability. The bill’s implementation may also be compromised as bitcoin is not currently considered as legal tender.
The question of bitcoin’s status as a currency is likely to remain murky in the courts for sometime, but Councilman Levine is not worried about the implications on his proposed bill. The councilman has ascertained that the bitcoin payment can be accepted by the city regardless of the courts rulings if the payments are handled by a financial intermediary. While this would include some fees, the cost of operating in bitcoin would still be lower than credit cards.
The proposal in New York city is just the latest in a trend of governments contemplating accepting bitcoin payments. Utah and New Hampshire have already proposed bills in their state legislatures.
Read more – New York Councilman: Bitcoin Could Save City Millions (CoinDesk, Pete Rizzo)