New York’s mayor is getting paid in bitcoin. However can he pay the payments with it? – The Guardian

Eric Adams will discover it troublesome to spend his cryptocurrency paycheck to pay for the day by day prices of dwelling within the Massive Apple
First printed on Fri 21 Jan 2022 06.00 EST
New York’s new mayor will get his first paycheck on Friday – and as a part of his bid to maintain the town “on the forefront of innovation”, he’ll be receiving his wages in cryptocurrency.

“New York is the middle of the world and we wish it to be the middle of cryptocurrency and different monetary improvements,” Eric Adams mentioned in a press launch.
However even within the middle of the world, making an attempt to reside on ethereum or bitcoin is perhaps a wrestle. The subway gained’t take it, and it’s laborious to suit dogecoin within the quarter slot on the laundromat. So what is going to Adams really be capable of do along with his paycheck?
Will he be capable of eat?
Sure. Getting groceries is perhaps troublesome – in 2019, Complete Meals started accepting cryptocurrency through an app-based fee system known as Flexa, however a buyer care consultant mentioned on Thursday that the corporate was not at present taking cryptocurrency.
However the vegan mayor might need higher luck at eating places. Yelp permits customers to filter for eating places that settle for cryptocurrency – although calls to the spots and visits to their web sites counsel a few of the claims are inaccurate.
He might additionally use a workaround and buy a present card with bitcoin utilizing considered one of varied platforms akin to Bitrefill and Fold. That would get him a espresso at Starbucks or an order by means of DoorDash; it additionally works for Amazon, Netflix and different firms.
(Adams’s cryptocurrency paycheck is itself the results of a workaround, since division of labor laws require the town of New York to pay staff in {dollars}. The mayor’s workplace says the paycheck will “robotically be transformed” to cryptocurrency earlier than it’s made accessible to him, utilizing the platform Coinbase.)
That implies that Adams’s paycheck should first be transformed from {dollars} to cryptocurrency, then be transformed to a present card, and eventually be used to purchase a smoothie. Environment friendly!
One other trick: he might flip to PayPal, which lets customers spend cryptocurrency for transactions (Mastercard has a comparable program). However the app first converts the cryptocurrency to precise {dollars} – creating one other pointless cycle and contributing to a system that, in keeping with Cambridge researchers, makes use of extra electrical energy per yr than the nation of Argentina.
Will he be capable of preserve the lights on?
In all probability not with out turning to his precise checking account. Con Edison, New York’s huge electrical energy and gasoline utility, doesn’t settle for cryptocurrency funds, a consultant mentioned. Cryptocurrency does an excellent job of draining the world of vitality, however utilizing it to purchase some again seems troublesome.
In fact, he’ll be dwelling in Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor’s residence – which means, presumably, he gained’t be paying these payments anyway. Nor will he have to fret about whether or not his landlord accepts bitcoin.
Will he be capable of get anyplace?
Not if he desires to take the subway like a traditional New Yorker or some other transportation supplied by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA doesn’t settle for cryptocurrency, a spokesperson mentioned.
If he will get caught, Adams may be capable of hail an Uber utilizing his paycheck, however it could possibly be an extended wait on the nook. Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, indicated in February that he was open to accepting bitcoin sooner or later, however when is unclear. Within the meantime, he might purchase an Uber present card.
Will he be capable of use the very web that cryptocurrency is dependent upon?
Once more, he might have bother. Verizon Fios, New York’s largest web supplier, doesn’t seem to supply a cryptocurrency possibility for on-line funds. Adams could discover himself turning to his pre-mayoral financial savings if he desires to verify the worth of bitcoin.
So what is going to he really do?
Adams’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. However he could effectively simply “maintain on to it as an funding”, says Neeraj Agrawal, communications director at Coin Heart, a non-profit centered on cryptocurrency coverage. “That has turn out to be the extra widespread use of bitcoin nowadays.”
Or, if he’s feeling actually financially modern, he might go completely digital: it gained’t get him a experience on the subway, however he might purchase the phrase “MetroCard” as an NFT for the equal of about $30.