Innovative cities across America aim to be the next hot spot for crypto and blockchain adoption. Miami was the first city to accept its share of CityCoins last year, allowing it to introduce its own cryptocurrency called “MiamiCoin” for community use.
New York has also established itself as a crypto-friendly city through educational initiatives, with Mayor Eric Adams receiving his Bitcoin (BTC) salary in January.
Austin takes a stand
Recently, Austin – the capital of Texas known for its “Keep Austin Weird” slogan – has shown a strong interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. While Texas’ ambition to become a leader in crypto-innovation was confirmed about a year ago when Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that he was a “supporter of the crypto bill,” the city of Austin has taken further steps to ensure that cryptocurrencies use urban services. .
On March 9, 2022, Austin City Councilwoman Mackenzie Kelly issued a resolution instructing the City of Austin to explore potential uses for cryptocurrency for the benefit of Austin and its residents. The resolution specifically asks the city manager to explore how the city can use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for financial transactions.
Kelly told the Cointelegraph that her decision requires the city manager to conduct an exploratory study to find out what the city needs to accept payments in bitcoin or other cryptocurrency for city services:
“This is more of a feasibility study. We do not currently have enough information as councilors to know if we can accept cryptocurrency as payment for urban services. We need to know more about this before we can make a decision. However, there is security information we need to see to see if it is possible or if we can keep cryptocurrency on the books financially.We do not know if we can invoice it as an asset – it will prevent us from accepting cryptocurrency as payment.It is also the financial stability of cryptocurrencies in general , and whether we can accept him at all in that regard. ”
Photo from Austin City Council meeting March 24, 2022. Source: Austintexas.gov.
While questions remain, Kelly mentioned that Austin has always been a future-oriented and innovative city, noting that many crypto investors currently live and work in Austin. Kelly added that Austin Mayor Steve Adler is one of the sponsors of her decision. Given this support, Kelly believes that crypto payments will be a useful alternative, giving people the flexibility to pay for certain services in the city. She explained:
“For example, if someone gets a speeding ticket and does not have a bank account, but has cryptocurrency, they can use cryptocurrency as a payment method. Or whether they want to pay taxes or electricity bills with bitcoin or set aside a park in their name with cryptocurrency. That’s it. Part of an analysis to enable the city of Austin to accept payments in cryptocurrency. ”
This can certainly have a big impact, as the latest data from Finder.com shows that 8% of Texans already own bitcoin, and adoption in the state could reach 14% by the end of the year. Austin in particular can benefit from crypto payments for urban services, as Google data shows that Austin ranks first among cities in Texas that search for the keywords “bitcoin” and “crypto”.
All in all, it’s no surprise that Kelly’s decision was approved at the city council meeting in Austin on March 24. Now that the resolution has been passed, Kelly has made it clear that the next step of approval will take place in mid-June. When the mayor of Austin can decide if cryptocurrency can actually be accepted as payment. This will be based on the city’s research on financial stability, security, fairness, inclusion and consumer benefits or risk.
In addition to Kelly’s decision, Adler’s blockchain decision was passed during the business meeting in Austin on March 24, 2022. During the meeting, City Councilman Sabino Renteria explained that Austin began researching the use of blockchain four years ago to ensure the city’s homeless residents will always have control. the population. their personal records. “The idea was whether we use blockchain technology to give people ownership and access to all their records,” he said. Renteria added that he is “excited about the prospects for what blockchain can do.”