Here’s a potential boost for the the virtual currency bitcoin: What if New York City starts accepting bitcoins as payments for fees and fines?
Last week, New York City councilman Mark Levine introduced a bill that would do just that, and the plan could become law by summer. Levine told CoinDesk that he thinks New York City has a big incentive to allow bitcoin payments — a cost advantage compared to 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,” he told CoinDesk.
Levine also said it would be a smart marketing move for New York City, which competes with the likes of Silicon Valley and Boston in attracting technology firms and high-tech talent.
Will fellow councilmembers, some of whom are wary or ill-informed about bitcoin, approve the measure? Levine thinks he can convince them — Partially because he has the New York State Financial Services Department (NYDFS) on his side, sort of.
The NYDFS recently made public a revised “BitLicense” regulatory framework, paving the way for bitcoin-related businesses to operate in New York. The revisions include reduced record-keeping requirements, a two-year waiver from full compliance for startups and the allowance of virtual currencies to be held toward capital requirements.
Moreover, Levine has indicated that the bill passed muster with the city council’s legal team. Most likely, a a financial firm would act as intermediary in accepting bitcoins. The firm would then provide the city with U.S dollars.