Residents of Innisfil, Ont. can now pay their tax using cryptocurrency, in a move that’s made the town the first municipality in the country that accepts Bitcoin.
The town entered a one-year pilot project this month, partnering with Coinberry Pay, a Toronto based crypto currency company to process bitcoin payments for property taxes.
While a quiet lakeshore town of about 36,000 people may not seem like a hotbed of cutting-edge technology, it’s just another step forward for the Ontario town.
“We developed a bit of a reputation for not being afraid to try new things,” Mayor of Innisfil Lynn Dollin told CTV News Channel.
The town has previously partnered with ride-sharing company Uber to create a tax-subsidized, on-demand transit system for the town, saving the town an estimated $8 million annually in transit costs.
After that success, they entered a pilot project with Rover Parking app, in an effort to try and curb illegal parking that causes road blockages in the town.
While cryptocurrency has been controversial recently, with the sudden collapse of one of Canada’s biggest cyryptocurrency exchanges QuadrigaCX following the death of the company’s CEO, Dollin says that safety is at the forefront of the town’s mind.
“We have to be careful – we’re responsible for taxpayers’ dollars,” Dollin said. “So certainly we don’t want to bring any risk to the taxpayers.”
The payment system developed for Innisfil has the town not actually holding any of the currency, and as a result they don’t take on any of the risk of a constantly changing market.
If there is fluctuation in the currency’s value before the payment is sent and before it’s processed, the burden is on the payer.
If a resident sends their payment, but the value of the cryptocurrency drops before it’s deposited into the town’s account, the onus is on the payer to cover the difference, whereas if the value rises the town will refund any additional money.
While it’s unknown whether any of the town’s residents have taken advantage of the new system yet, it’s a move that has Canada and the rest of the world watching.