Canadian town encourages tax payments in bitcoin

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One of the arguments against bitcoin is that there aren’t enough ‘real life’ use cases. Mayor Lynn Dollin of Innisfil, Ontario disagrees. She says that using bitcoin to pay property taxes has made transaction costs much cheaper. This is because the processing fee will be 0.5% compared to credit cards which charge an average of 1.75%.

Innisfil is the first town in Canada to allow residents to use bitcoin to pay their property taxes. It’s part of a one-year pilot program the town entered into with Coinberry Pay, a Toronto-based cryptocurrency company.

While Innisfil claims to be Canada’s first town to accept bitcoin, it will not be holding no cryptocurrency. Once a resident pays the property tax in bitcoin, the amount will be immediately converted to Canadian dollars by Coinberry. It will then be deposited into the municipal bank account.

According to the report from CBC, the town of 36,000 people is known for its beautiful lakeside views, summer homes and antique shops. But the Mayor hopes it may become a cutting edge, high-tech centre for crypto start-ups and blockchain developers. Mayor Lynn Dollin told the Canadian broadcaster, “The town wants to be known for being a place that is not afraid of trying something new and different.”

The town uses Uber for public transport

And, ever since Innisfil hired Uber to provide public transportation, Dollin says other tech entrepreneurs have approached her town council with ideas. When, for example, the town faced a parking space shortage problem on its lakeshore due to the large number of ice fishermen in the winter, the Rover app proposed a solution. Through a pilot project, the town now matches drivers with empty driveways using Rover.

Dollin says that since the rollout of the Uber transportation system residents have reported a 70 per cent satisfaction rate with the service. Even older residents are comfortable with using the Innisfil transit app app: “So now not only are they getting to their medical appointments, but they’re going to the [YMCA] and they’re going into aquafit and they’re going for potluck lunch with their friends,” Dollin said. They are also asking their children and grandchildren for smartphones as a gift. They can get assistance with installing and operating the app at the local library.

As Mayor Dollin points out, being a small and nimble community they are able to try new things that may be much more difficult in a city like Toronto.

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