Is Austin the next US crypto hub? Officials approve blockchain resolutions


Progressive cities throughout America are racing to grow to be the following scorching spot for cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption. Miami was the primary metropolis to undertake its personal a part of CityCoins final 12 months, permitting it to implement its own cryptocurrency referred to as “MiamiCoin” for use for civic engagement. 

New York Metropolis has additionally made a reputation for itself as a crypto-friendly metropolis by implementing academic initiatives and with Mayor Eric Adams receiving his paycheck in Bitcoin (BTC) in January this 12 months. 

Austin takes a powerful stance 

Most just lately, Austin — the state capital of Texas that goes by the slogan “Maintain Austin Bizarre” — has taken a powerful curiosity in cryptocurrency and blockchain know-how. Whereas Texas’ need to paved the way for crypto innovation was established a couple of 12 months in the past when Governor Greg Abbot tweeted that he’s a “crypto legislation proposal supporter,” town of Austin has taken further measures to ensure the acceptance of cryptocurrency for metropolis companies.

On March 9, 2022, Austin metropolis council member Mackenzie Kelly put forth a decision to direct the Austin metropolis supervisor to explore attainable use instances of cryptocurrency to learn Austin and its residents. The decision particularly asks for town supervisor to examine how town might undertake Bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies for monetary transactions.

Kelly informed Cointelegraph that her decision directs town supervisor to conduct a fact-finding examine to find out what could be required for town to simply accept Bitcoin or different cryptocurrency funds for metropolis companies:

“That is extra of a feasibility examine. We at the moment don’t have sufficient info as council members to know if we will settle for crypto as cost for metropolis companies. We have to know extra about this earlier than we will resolve. In doing so, there’s safety info we have to have a look at to see if that is even viable or if we will hold crypto on our books financially. We don’t know if we will invoice it as an asset — that will stop us from having the ability to settle for crypto as cost. There’s additionally the monetary stability of crypto as a complete, and if we will even settle for it in that regard.”

Picture from Austin metropolis council assembly on March 24, 2022.  Supply: Austintexas.gov

Though questions stay, Kelly talked about that Austin has at all times been a forward-thinking and revolutionary metropolis, noting that many cryptocurrency buyers at the moment reside and work in Austin. Kelly added that Austin Mayor Steve Adler is a co-sponsor of her decision. Given this help, Kelly believes cryptocurrency funds will function a helpful different to permit people the pliability of paying for sure metropolis companies. She elaborated:

“If somebody will get a dashing ticket, for instance, and doesn’t have a checking account however has cryptocurrency, they might use crypto as cost. Or, in the event that they wished to pay their taxes or electrical payments utilizing Bitcoin or dedicate a park of their identify utilizing crypto. That is all a part of the evaluation for permitting town of Austin to simply accept crypto funds.”

This might actually make a big impact, as current information from Finder.com found that 8% of Texans already personal Bitcoin and that adoption within the state might hit 14% by the top of the 12 months. Austin, specifically, may benefit from crypto funds for metropolis companies, as Google information shows that Austin ranks on the primary metropolis in Texas that searches for the key phrases “Bitcoin” and “crypto.”

All issues thought of, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Kelly’s decision was approved throughout Austin’s metropolis council assembly that passed off on March 24. Now that the decision has handed, Kelly defined that the following step for approval will happen in mid-June when the Austin metropolis supervisor can decide if crypto can certainly be accepted as cost. This can be primarily based on town’s analysis relating to monetary stability, safety, fairness and inclusion and client advantages or dangers.

Along with Kelly’s decision, Adler’s decision specializing in blockchain know-how was additionally handed throughout Austin’s March 24, 2022 working session. Throughout the assembly, metropolis council member Sabino Renteria defined that Austin began exploring the usage of blockchain 4 years in the past to ensure that town’s homeless inhabitants would have management of their private data always. “The idea was what if we use blockchain know-how to have the ability to give of us possession and entry to all of their data,” he remarked. Renteria added that he’s “excited on the prospect of what blockchain can do.”

Whereas each resolutions are revolutionary, some Austin metropolis council members expressed issues throughout the assembly. Councilmember Leslie Pool mentioned that her single greatest concern relating to blockchain implementation is its “lack of a government.” She added:

“It might be tamper evident and tamper resistant, however that’s all that it’s. It’s a digital ledger. So there could also be some distinctive makes use of for this or for town to advertise its use, however at this level, given its comparatively current entry into information storage or different digital arenas, I’m actually cautious referring to town diving into adopting or utilizing it. I very a lot wish to hear from our monetary workplace employees or consultants on these applied sciences earlier than taking choices to undertake this stuff.”

Relating to the cryptocurrency decision put forth, council member Pool added:

“I proceed to imagine crypto is simply too unstable, a type of foreign money to threat tax payer {dollars} or worker retirements. Crypto is unregulated. It is not simply unregulated. It is also unprotected. There’s a component for me of gaming concerned right here. THat leaves me actually uneasy. Crypto as a type of cost or funding is inconsistent with the position of a municipality in safeguarding the neighborhood’s income.”

Austin pushes ahead, regardless of issues

Considerations apart, Austin residents stay constructive relating to cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation throughout the metropolis. For instance, Jesse Paterson, chair of the training committee at ATX DAO — a chain-agnostic decentralized autonomous group (DAO) in Austin — informed Cointelegraph that the group goals to function a neighborhood useful resource to assist educated metropolis council members and residents on the implications of the just lately handed resolutions:

“Some ATX DAO members had been at metropolis corridor exhibiting our help for the resolutions, but we nonetheless lent some warning as a result of we’re nonetheless within the early days of crypto. Due to this fact, it takes time to know the area earlier than diving into tasks.”

Ryan Harvey, ATX DAO neighborhood supervisor and long-time resident of Austin, added that, primarily based on the wording of each council member Kelly’s crypto decision and Mayor Adler’s blockchain decision, it’s clear that these are nonetheless fact-finding missions. Nevertheless, he famous it is a constructive step in the suitable path:

“New info is at all times an excellent factor. However, even past fact-finding, each resolutions present that Austin is open for enterprise and encourages innovation, which is improbable.”

Throughout the March 24 council assembly, Harvey took a couple of minutes to share his ideas with metropolis council members. He acknowledged that, “There are organizations right here on the town like ATX DAO — and I used to be excited to see DAOs talked about within the decision — that may be a degree of reference.”

ATX DAO neighborhood supervisor, Ryan Harvey commenting on the March 24 metropolis council assembly. Supply: Austintexas.gov

Along with efforts being made by ATX DAO, different Austinites are creating initiatives with crypto and Web3 components to provide again to the neighborhood. For instance, Metropolis Magic is a venture aiming to carry communities in Austin collectively by means of grants within the type of nonfungible tokens (NFTs). 

Metropolis Magic founder Raffi Sapire informed Cointelegraph that the venture awards $1,000 grants to these within the Austin neighborhood who wish to create a pleasant area or occasion for neighbors or for civic engagement. “Metropolis Magic is for civically-minded individuals and for individuals who care concerning the neighborhood. It additionally helps construct a bridge for individuals who could not have interacted with tokens earlier than. Grants are NFTs, and the price to affix our committee is the same as one grant that can profit civic engagement.”

Adler just lately demonstrated his help for Sapire and different blockchain-focused Austin entrepreneurs and companies in a tweet that learn, “Austin is happy to help the companies and improvements that can flip the guarantees of Web3, cryptocurrency, and blockchain know-how into actuality.”

Furthermore, Austin could quickly be a part of the ranks of Miami and New York Metropolis by implementing its personal CityCoin. A CityCoin neighborhood member spoke about how this will play out in a presentation conducted at ETH Austin, a two-day lengthy occasion that passed off throughout South By Southwest. The neighborhood member shared that CityCoins’ fundamental aim is to work with town of Austin to assist officers like Mayor Adler and council member Kelly higher perceive how Austin’s personal cryptocurrency could be profitable. “We have to outline this and ensure we do it proper earlier than we go about something. Ideally, we’d prefer to have an announcement on this throughout Consensus 2022, set to occur on June 9.”

CityCoins neighborhood member presenting at ETH Austin. Photograph Credit score: Rachel Wolfson

When requested a couple of CityCoin being applied in Austin, Kelly remarked, “I’m open to the concept, however my monetary conclusion of that depends upon my decision passing and figuring out that it’s possible for town of Austin to simply accept crypto as a complete.” 





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