Some U.S. mayors want to address income inequality by giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told Axios that mayors of New York, Cleveland, and Atlanta were among those who were enthusiastic about "how bitcoin can be transformative in their cities."
The topic was presented at a meeting in Washington, D.C.
Some blue cities already have been experimenting with new ways to address income inequality. Guaranteed income programs in St. Paul, Minnesota, Compton, California, and Richmond, Virginia, are paying low-income residents around $300–$600 a month.
The money being paid out comes from the coronavirus stimulus approved by Congress and from private sources, Axios said.
Suarez has vowed that Miami will be "the first city in America to give a bitcoin yield as a dividend directly to its residents. He plans to pay residents via the city’s MiamiCoin initiative, begun by the city last year as a way to raise revenue.
"Most people who are poor have their money in a bank account that earns negligible interest," Suarez told Axios. "With the rapid inflation that we have because of rampant government spending, the people are losing purchasing power — they're actually becoming poorer."
He added to Axios that "if you had a crypto account, you could get a U.S. stablecoin," a form of digital currency with a yield of perhaps 5% to 6%.
A stablecoin is a type of crytocurrency that gets its value from another asset. It is pegged to some other underlying asset.
Opponents of cryptocurrencies, which are unregulated and historically unstable, say they are too risky because of their volatility.
"Cryptocurrency has no intrinsic value … there’s so much speculation taking place in stocks and securities and crypto and stuff like that — I would be very careful," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently told CBS Boston.
Phyllis Dickerson, CEO of the African American Mayors Association, told Axios the organization was starting to plan a meeting about these types of currencies so members can learn about how they work.
MiamiCoin was created to raise enough revenue that the city could stop levying taxes. The Miami Herald reported in November that the program had raised more than $21 million.
"We're going to create digital wallets for our residents, and we’re going to give them Bitcoin directly from the yield of MiamiCoin," Suarez told the Herald.
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