Mark Levine, a New York City Council Member, is going to introduce a bill that will enable the residents of the state to pay for fines and fees in bitcoin. In case the bill is accepted by the authorities, New York will become the first municipality to accept payments in digital currency.
Levine expects the bill will bring more tech jobs to the city, as well as attract new companies. In addition, the move will help the Department of Finance to save money, as fees on processing credit card payments exceed those made in digital currency.
Moreover, Levine pointed to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, which allows higher level of privacy.
“Today you can buy almost anything with Bitcoin,” Levine told The New York Post. “For young, internet-savvy people, it’s become the currency of choice,” he said. “This would convey to the world that New York is on the cutting edge.”
Mark Levine is a democratic member of the New York City Council from the 7th District. He is also a member of such committees as finance, housing and buildings, education, rules, and government operations.
Levine is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received a master’s degree in public policy in 1995.
“The city may enter into agreements with one or more financing agencies to provide for acceptance by the city of bitcoins, via the internet, as an alternate means of payment of fines, civil penalties, fees or charges owed by a person to the city. […] Such fee shall not exceed the cost incurred by the agency or department in connection with such bitcoin transaction,” the bill reads.
According to the document, the bill would take effect 180 days after its enactment.
In December 2014, the Department of Finance in New York City carried out a research on alternative means of payment for parking fees with the use of mobile apps, including bitcoin.
Each year, the Department collects about $600 million from parking violations. The ability to pay fines using the mobile phones will help the city to reduce fines it racks up annually from penalties on unpaid violations.
The city still has no exact plans. It has issued a Request for Information that researches data on the potential system for mobile payments.
The municipality of the New York City is not the only one that sees potential in digital currency. Recently, the municipality of Madeira Beach in Florida accepted bitcoin at its marina.