Joel Greenberg is the tax collector of Seminole County, Florida. A press release from his office dated yesterday states that as of this summer, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash payments will be accepted by the county to pay taxes. The county will use BitPay to process the payments.
Seminole County is an area with a population of approximately half a million people. Its largest city is Sanford, population 58,605 as of 2016. The word Seminole is thought to be derived from the Spanish word cimarrón, meaning ‘untamed’.
Greenberg has been in his position since January 2017 and in this time has introduced a modernisation plan which includes the use of artificial intelligence. The press release explains that blockchain technology is a way to avoid the heavy fees charged by credit and debit card payment processors and also cites improved payment accuracy, transparency, and efficiency.
Greenberg has beaten the state of Arizona to the finish line. Arizona was expected to be the first place in the US to begin to accept taxation in cryptocurrency, but the decision was held up because not everyone in the local government agreed with the proposal. One lawmaker argued that acceptance would “transfer the volatility risk off of the person paying their taxes and onto the Department of Revenue and thus all other taxpayers.”
Today’s press release states that there is no price risk to the county because the user sends the amount of cryptocurrency needed to pay the bill and the country receives the money in dollars. BitPay takes one percent of all transactions.
BitPay is a Bitcoin payment processing company from the US city of Atlanta. It branched out to other cryptocurrencies in December 2017 and began accepting Bitcoin Cash in March 2018. BitPay uses a security protocol which makes it almost impossible to make a wrongful payment, thus solving the problem of Bitcoin refunds.
Greenberg said: “We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand, with same-day delivery and the expectation of highly efficient customer service and we should expect the same from our government. 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.”
Jeremie Beaudry, Head of Compliance at BitPay, said: “BitPay was started because we recognized the potential for blockchain to revolutionize the financial industry, making payments faster, more secure, and less expensive on a global scale. With the Seminole County Tax Collector’s office, we have engaged our first government agency to accept bitcoin and bitcoin cash by making it easy and seamless for them.”