A controversial Florida politician just made his county the first in the US to let residents pay taxes with bitcoin

Seminole CountySeminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg
  • Florida’s Seminole County will soon accept bitcoin and bitcoin cash as payment for county services, like taxes and drivers licence fees.
  • To do it, the county will work with BitPay, a cryptocurrency e-commerce payments company. It’s BitPay’s first contract with a government entity.
  • It’s believed that Seminole County will be the first government body to accept cryptocurrency as payment.
  • This bitcoin payment project was put in place by Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, a controversial and unconventional figure in Florida politics.

Residents of Seminole County, Florida will soon be able to pay their taxes and drivers licence fees using bitcoin and bitcoin cash – two of the hottest cryptocurrencies in the world.

In an announcement made on Monday, Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg said that the county will start using the payment processor BitPay to process cryptocurrency payments. The project, set to go into effect in June, will let county residents pay their property taxes, driver licence and ID card fees, tags and titles.

“We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand…and we should expect the same from our government,” Greenberg said in a statement. “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.”

Greenberg himself cuts a somewhat unconventional figure in Floridian politics.

He ousted a longtime incumbent in the 2016 election, ran on the campaign promise of bringing new technologies to Seminole County, which sits just outside of Orlando. He’s since garnered attention by pushing for a controversial land deal, and pulling over a speeding motorist using white flashing lights on his personal SUV, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Seminole County is the first government agency to use BitPay to process services, and representatives for the company said they believe it is the first government agency in the US to accept cryptocurrencies.

While bitcoin has garnered significant attention over the past year, it’s widely believed to be too costly and impractical to use for small payments. The cost of individual bitcoin payments skyrocketed in December at the height of the cryptocurrency’s price and popularity, and BitPay itself even temporarily banned bitcoin purchases under $US100 as fees on the network hit a high of $US37 per transaction.

It now costs around $US1.30 per transaction with bitcoin. For citizens of Seminole County who opt to pay with bitcoin with cryptocurrencies, that fee will have to be accounted for, in addition to a 1% transaction fee paid to BitPay. The county said it expects BitPay to help it settled payments quicker and cheaper than is possible with traditional credit card processors.

BitPay, which facilitates e-commerce payments in cryptocurrencies, raised $US40 million in funding led by Menlo Ventures in April.

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