The Mayor Of A Small Upstate New York Village Will Be The First Elected Official To Receive His Salary In Cryptocurrency
New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s first paycheck will be automatically converted into cryptocurrency via Coinbase Global Inc. The salary will be converted to Ethereum and Bitcoin, according to a statement by the mayor.
The mayor last year said he would take his first three paychecks in bitcoin and signaled his intention to make his city the “center of the cryptocurrency industry”. Digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum both saw record highs at the end of 2017 before slowly dropping back down below $40,000 as of January 10th. Despite these fluctuations, New York is seeing its influence as a hub for cryptocurrency steadily grow.
“New York is the center of the world, and we want it to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations,” Adams said in a statement after his election. Coinbase Global operates an exchange that enables people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. While blockchain technology has many potential applications, New York’s embrace of digital currencies is encouraging for investors who believe Mayor Adam’s stance will attract more start-ups to New York City.
Stephen P. DeBenedittis , a Democrat who ran for office on a platform that included leveraging blockchain technology, says he believes the action could set an example for how public officials handle taxpayer money.
In addition to receiving $ 1,000 USD worth of Stellar Lumens tokens as part payment from now through June 2019, DeBenedittis has reportedly implemented other measures aimed at improving transparency and accountability through use of blockchain tech.
For instance, the village will reportedly begin digitizing its land records using a private blockchain built on the Ethereum network, and has launched a website called VILLAGESBlockchain.io to encourage community input and participation.
” I’m hoping that other elected officials who aren’t as forward thinking or don’t have the ability to comprehend this technology… will look at it more closely so they can understand where this would be useful… ” DeBenedittis is quoted as saying by local news source CNYCentral .
The mayor’s actions mark a shift in attitude for DeBenedittis , who initially expressed resistance towards cryptocurrency when his predecessor proposed accepting Bitcoin payments from village residents.
In December 2018, DeBenedittis told The Post-Star that he believed the mayor’s office should not “invest in things we don’t understand.”
In a telling sign of how attitudes have shifted, DeBenedittis now insists to CNYCentral that it is important for the government to experiment with technology before considering implementation at a larger scale.
” We’re going to try this and if it works, great. If not, we can move on from there. “
The village operates with a yearly budget of $ 1 million USD – a figure dwarfed by records set by cryptocurrency exchanges looking for a foothold in tiny Liechtenstein . Still, DeBenedittis sees potential for blockchain to provide services – ranging from public access internet to municipal operations – at costs much lower than those of other communities.
The mayor has also reportedly accepted a donation of 1,500 Lumens tokens (worth approximately $ 10 USD) from the Blockchain Education Network and plans to use them for educational purposes.