New York City Councilman Proposes Bitcoin Payments for Fines and Fees

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on February 11, 2015 at 21:15 BST
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New York City CouncilNew York City Councilman Mark Levine has announced he will introduce a bill tomorrow that, if adopted, would move the municipality to accept bitcoin as payment for fines and fees.

The full bill would give New York City the ability to “enter into agreements” with financing agencies to allow it to accept bitcoin. Parking tickets and court fees would be among the items that would then be payable in bitcoin.

Levine, a democrat representing the 7th District in Northern Manhattan, is particularly passionate about developments in the bitcoin community, citing its popularity among younger demographics in statements to The New York Post.

A spokesperson told CoinDesk:

“This is a really exciting bill. We really want to engage with the bitcoin community, which is growing by leaps and bounds.”

A Harvard graduate with a BA in physics, Levine is a member of the city's finance, education, housing and buildings, government operations, and rules committees.

The New York City Council is a 51-member group that serves as the city's main lawmaking body and is solely responsible for its budget.

Added fees may apply

Also present in the text is language that would enable New York City to collect “reasonable and uniform fees” for accepting bitcoin.

“Such fee shall not exceed the cost incurred by the agency or department in connection with such bitcoin transaction,” the bill reads.

The spokesperson was not able to provide further details of the steps the bill will need to go through to become law. However, the text notes that the bill would take effect 180 days after its enactment.

The introduction of the bill follows news that the city’s finance department was conducting research as to whether bitcoin should be accepted for parking violations.

New York City is not the first municipality to consider accepting bitcoin for government payments, following the city of Pittsburgh in its considerations.

City Hall image via CoinDesk

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