Nearly 500,000 citizens within Florida’s Seminole County will be able to pay their property taxes with bitcoin or bitcoin cash starting next month.
Joel Greenberg (pictured), the recently elected Tax Collector for the county, said residents will be able to further pay for IDs or license plates in bitcoin or bitcoin cash following an agreement with BitPay.
“We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand, with same-day delivery and the expectation of highly efficient customer service and we should expect the same from our government,” Greenberg said before adding:
“The aim of my tenure in office is to make our customer experience faster, smarter, and more efficient, and to bring government services from the 18th century into the 21st century and one way is the addition of cryptocurrency to our payment options.”
The county hopes to save in fees as banks or payment processors usually charge 2% to 3% while BitPay has a fixed charge of 1% and no charge at all for the first one million dollars processed.
Moreover BitPay offers the option of instantly converting the crypto into dollars, so the end merchant, in this case the country, would avoid volatility by receiving dollars.
Local reaction has been surprisingly overall supportive. While there are some, like María T. Padilla from Orlando Latino blog, who says:
“Seminole residents should pay their property taxes with Monopoly money, which at least has been around longer and everyone knows what it is: fake money.”
Others, like Chris Carmody, a shareholder at Florida’s biggest law firm, GrayRobinson, said:
“Greenberg’s office is the first U.S. government agency to accept bitcoin for payment. And why not? Cryptocurrency, while volatile, is becoming more and more common. The future is now. Kudos to Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office for embracing it.”
While J. Matthew Knight, M.D., board member at Tiger Bay Club, says: “The use of virtual currencies will help the county prevent credit card fraud and identity theft.”
With Larry Pino, a local attorney and entrepreneur, stating: “the decision to both accept crypto and process payments through BitPay does reflect not only the comfort upcoming millennials have with technology and its cutting-edge applications, but also the gains cryptocurrencies have made of late.
While presumably controversial, Greenberg’s action is no doubt the first of many in what will probably be the winding road to crypto legitimacy.”
This is the first time in America, and perhaps even in the entire world, that bitcoin and bitcoin cash is being accepted for the payment of taxes.
The two cryptos have some 100,000 merchants that are willing to accept them, if not more, but the government itself accepting them for payments is something very new indeed and does speak volumes regarding this new stage now cryptos have entered.