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New York City’s mayor-elect says he wants to be paid in Bitcoin

New York City’s mayor-elect says he wants to be paid in Bitcoin


Someone in the city’s payroll department is crying

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Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

New York City’s mayor-elect Eric Adams said in a tweet Thursday that he wants his first three city paychecks paid in Bitcoin, in a bid to show up the mayor of Miami and indicate his hopes that New York will be a place where the cryptocurrency industry is welcome.

To put it lightly, the feasibility of Adams actually getting paid in Bitcoin seems dicey. (Is the city’s payroll even set up for that? How will this work with the fluctuating price of Bitcoin? My goodness, what’s the tax situation going to be like?) Whether it actually happens or not, though, he’s sending a clear message about his intended plans as a mayor — you probably wouldn’t say something like that if you’re going to ignore cryptocurrency and Bitcoin completely.

As one of my colleagues noted in Slack, the move is part of a (crypto) wallet-measuring contest with the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez — Adams’ tweet was in response to Suarez saying that he’d take his next paycheck in Bitcoin, and he threw in a remark about New York going big (hence the three paychecks, because three > one).

As CNBC points out, both mayors are trying to make their cities the center of the decentralized currency space. Adams has promised to look into what’s slowing down crypto investment in New York, and Suarez has given support to a project called MiamiCoin that lets people invest crypto into the city. Suarez also said that he hopes the city’s payroll and taxes could one day be paid in Bitcoin.

Culturally speaking, Miami has a head start: moved its US operations from New York to Miami earlier this year, and El Salvador’s president announced that the country would be adopting Bitcoin as an official currency at a Miami conference.

As with any political promises or stunts, actions speak much, much louder than words. Adams actually getting a few paychecks in Bitcoin (or getting paid in dollars and immediately converting them into crypto, which would be much easier) won’t really move the needle on the industry. But the fact that he and another prominent mayor are talking about doing it shows a big shift in how (at least some) leaders are thinking about the future of money.