New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams plans to convert his first paychecks into Bitcoin, as he vowed Thursday to make the city more welcoming to cryptocurrency.
Adams announced in a Twitter post that he would take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin when he becomes mayor. Adams was responding to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who said he will also take his next paycheck in Bitcoin.
Adams' campaign spokesperson Evan Thies later clarified that the mayor-elect would convert his pay into Bitcoin through an exchange. The city lacks a mechanism to issue salaries in anything other than U.S. dollars.
The announcement was a clear statement of political support for crypto, and follows remarks Adams made this week indicating he wants to attract more crypto jobs to New York and possibly create a digital currency for the city.
“NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries!” Adams said Thursday. “Just wait!”
The desire by Adams to be paid directly in Bitcoin highlighted a number of practical concerns surrounding digital currency.
Crypto still faces major obstacles as a tool for day-to-day payments, in part because it's taxed by the IRS as property. There are also questions about how a Bitcoin-based salary would mesh with federal labor laws. It's unclear who would control the digital “wallet” that the city would need to use to pay Adams.
“I'm just trying to imagine the process for getting that cleared to make it happen,” said Stephen Palley, partner at the law firm Anderson Kill. “It just sounds like a nightmare.”
Suarez applauded Adams for joining the club of crypto-savvy mayors.
“Touché … congrats on the election and I look forward to the friendly competition in making our respective cities a crypto capital!” Suarez said on Twitter.
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