If you live in Richmond Hill, you’ll soon be able to pay your property taxes with Bitcoin.
Earlier this month the city passed a motion to give residents and businesses the option and it’s now in the process of working out a deal with Coinberry, a digital currency platform.
“Coinberry, as a third party provider will be converting our residents’ payments into Canadian dollars and giving that money to the city,” said Joe Di Paola, deputy mayor of Richmond Hill.
The structure of the agreement means there “will be no cost and no risk to the city,” he said.
Richmond Hill isn’t the first municipality to accept cryptocurrency.
The Town of Innisfil announced in May that it would be giving its 38,000 residents the option and in the last round of property taxes two people used it, said Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin.
“I really do feel that going forward it will become more popular,” said Dollin.
“The town needs to do a better job of advertising that this is an option here … It’s low risk and no cost to the town. So it’s the very same process we used for processing credit cards.”
Appealing to tech sector
Innisfil is also using Toronto-based company Coinberry as its provider.
“I think it’s a positive thing for economic development. If an innovative company is looking for a place to put down roots, why wouldn’t they come to a place like Innisfil — a town that embraces new technology,” said Dollin.
Di Paola said he also wanted to signal that Richmond Hill is a forward-thinking community that is looking to attract new business.
Although there isn’t a risk for the cities, cryptocurrencies fluctuate frequently so residents are on the line if the exchange rate changes while the payment is being processed.
Currency still volatile
“It takes about an hour to process and during that hour there could be a fluctuation. It’s the resident that takes the responsibility for that one hour period. So they might owe a little more money or get some back if Bitcoin goes up,” said Di Paola.
Richmond Hill is a month or two away from finalizing everything with Coinberry. After that it will set up the online payment system.
If all goes well, Di Paola wants to open up the cryptocurrency payment option to other city services like permits or parking fees.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll even look into giving city staff the option to get paid in Bitcoin,” said Di Paola.
Last year, Toronto city council voted against a motion by Coun. Norm Kelly to look into whether residents should be able to used cryptocurrency to pay bills such as property taxes, parking tickets and land transfer taxes.