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Is Bitcoin a Viable Option for Paying Government Salaries?

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams claim that both cities are set to become cryptocurrency innovation hubs. To prove it, they plan to accept their next paychecks in Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin logo projected on the sky by a beam of light.
After securing a second term as Miami’s mayor, Francis Suarez tweeted earlier this week that he will be accepting his next paycheck completely in Bitcoin. A couple of days later, New York mayor-elect Eric Adams said he plans to do the same if elected, raising the question: Is Bitcoin a viable option for paying politicians’ salaries?

In Suarez’s case, the announcement comes after advocating for Miami to become a new center of digital finance. This effort includes a proposal to pay city employees in Bitcoin and issue a request for proposals to help create a digital currency payment mechanism.

So far, Miami’s CIO is the first employee to take a percentage of his salary in Bitcoin. However, Suarez clarified that the city would not be forcing employees to accept Bitcoin over cash.

As for how Miami got involved in cryptocurrency, the city partnered with CityCoins, a nonprofit and open source protocol that allows people to hold and trade cryptocurrency, to create MiamiCoin.

Since launching in August, the protocol has generated about $7.1 million for the city.

“When you think about the possibility of being able to run a government without the citizens having to pay taxes, that’s incredible,” Suarez told the Washington Post, adding that the partnership creates a “counternarrative” to the idea that city programs require raising taxes or “private-sector philanthropy.”

Over the next year, Suarez estimates that the effort could generate as much as $60 million for Miami, ultimately revolutionizing how the city funds its programs that address poverty and other societal issues.

As for Adams, he tweeted that he plans to take his “first three paychecks” in Bitcoin if he is elected. He also claimed that New York would become the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries, posing competition for Miami.

Currently, today’s price per Bitcoin is hovering around $61,095, according to CoinDesk, and remains unregulated within the U.S. financial system.