It doesn't matter if the payments are in crumpled, wet $1 bills or casual swipes of a black Amex: New York City makes a shitload of money from fees and fines, and it's looking for new ways to get people to pay up. And that includes cryptocurrency. NYC councilman Mark Levine has proposed a bill allowing Bitcoin as a form of payment for fines and fees, including parking tickets.
People with digital wallets full of money they're not sure what to do with may have a chance to unload it on the most mundane bills: Those sent by the government for minor infractions. For disillusioned crypto-evangelists with horrible driving habits, this could be a godsend.
Bitcoin is notoriously volatile, with huge value changes—$100 in Bitcoin can change drastically depending on the day. And while it still has ardent supporters, it's not always easy to spend. (That's one of the reasons people will physically meet up with you, in person, to take your cash in exchange for their digital money— for all its hype, Bitcoin is still hard to spend.)
If the bill gets passed, it doesn't mean NYC's coffers will suddenly swell with the unstable digital currency. The proposal is actually for agreements between the city and financial agencies that accept Bitcoin, so people would actually pay their Bitcoin to these agencies, who would then provide the dollar amount of the fees and fines to the city. That'll protect New York from losing money if Bitcoin value takes a dive in the middle of a transaction.
If people use this option, it'll work out well for NYC, since it gives the city a new way to entice people to pay up without risking huge losses. But since the bill authorizes the financial agencies to charge processing fees, even diehard Bitcoin evangelists may balk at the prices.
Here's the full draft bill: