It doesn’t matter if the payments are in crumpled, wet $5 notes or casual swipes of a black Amex: New York City makes a boatload of money from fees and fines, and it’s looking for new ways to get people to pay up. And that includes cryptocurrency. NYC councilman Mark Levine has proposed a bill allowing Bitcoin as a form of payment for fines and fees, including parking tickets.
Bitcoin is notoriously volatile, with huge value changes — $100 in Bitcoin can change drastically depending on the day. If the bill gets passed, it doesn’t mean NYC’s coffers will suddenly swell with the unstable digital currency. The proposal is actually for agreements between the city and financial agencies that accept Bitcoin, so people would actually pay their Bitcoin to these agencies, who would then provide the dollar amount of the fees and fines to the city. That will protect New York from losing money if Bitcoin value takes a dive in the middle of a transaction.
If people use this option, it will work out well for NYC, since it gives the city a new way to entice people to pay up without risking huge losses. But since the bill authorises the financial agencies to charge processing fees, even diehard Bitcoin evangelists may balk at the prices.