Stephen Colbert put the town of Vicco, Ky., on the map this summer after he profiled the town’s gay mayor and perhaps-unexpectedly tolerant residents in what some called the greatest segment in the show’s history.
Unfortunately, Vicco also saw virtually no population growth in the past decade — they’re stuck at a little more than 300 — and sits in a county that averaged an unemployment rate of over 12% last year (the national average was 8%).
When you’re small American town is dying, you do everything you can to rescue it. But Vicco’s rescuing is officially a lot cooler than others.
Their latest move: starting next month at the earliest, Police Chief Tony Vaughn will start taking his salary in bitcion. The story was first reported by The Hazard Herald’s Cris Ritchie.
We just got off the phone with Vaughn. He said he first learned about bitcoin three months ago through his son, and became convinced virtual currencies are the future. “I pretty much think it will eventually take over,” he said, “or I hope it does.”
More importantly, he saw it as a way to keep the interest in the town first generated by the Colbert piece going. After it ran, several individuals donated money and playground equipment to spruce up the local park, Ritchie said.
“We’re trying to stay alive,” he said. “We’re a small town, so we’re trying to take every progressive move we can make. So it’s just an interesting experiment.”
Vaughn did not say how he will end up spending his salary. No Kentucky establishments are listed on Coinmap.org accepting bitcoin, but Ritchie reported the city’s new website will soon be set up to accept bitcoin donations.
But he officially submitted his proposal to the city council last month, and barring any unexpected legal hiccups will begin receiving bitcoin for his next paycheck. Taxes will first be removed.