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Toronto City Council Interested In Economic Impact Of Cryptocurrency Integration




The public is being encouraged to assist in the Toronto City Council’s assessment of how best to integrate cryptocurrencies into the city's business infrastructure.

On February 2, 2018, the City of Toronto voted to engage in "deputations" between the public and the City Executive on March 19, 2018, in an effort to better assess how the city can integrate commerce with cryptocurrencies.

Authored by Councillor Norman Kelly, and seconded by Councillor Chin Lee, the motion recommends that the city council "review the possibility of utilizing cryptocurrency as a form of payment for municipal property taxes, utilities, parking violations and Municipal Land Transfer taxes as well as a payment system by the City and report back to the Executive Committee in the second quarter of 2018."

The motion discusses the increasing interest in cryptocurrencies from businesses and governments, and that the blockchain technology underlying them possesses "the potential to revolutionize the administration of both business and government."

Kelly has acknowledged that other blockchain development projects involving the Canadian government are being explored. "The Ontario and federal governments and some of our banks are already running pilot projects to see what practical applications can come from using blockchain technology," said Kelley.

So far, Canada has been open about its work to digitize grant records on the Ethereum blockchain, and the Netherlands and Canada are working together to generate a biometric identity solution in the same vein for air travel.

Kelly said he doesn't want to see his city take a back seat to technological innovation amidst a sea of change. He said, "I'd rather be ahead of the wave than behind it."

He went on to say, "A number of communities like Zug, Switzerland, are already taking cryptocurrencies for payments. Venezuela has its own cryptocurrency and many international charities accept bitcoin."

While Kelly may fret over Toronto falling behind, and Venezuela has yet to actually mint any of its own petro cryptocurrency, there is still a great deal of interest in blockchain technology within its borders; the city is the site of numerous cryptocurrency meetups, and is also home to MaRS, a business accelerator currently fostering the growth of blockchain startup companies, among others.

Toronto is also where the one of the two Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) headquarters are located, with a sister office in Beijing.

A forthcoming report from the BRI will showcase applicable use cases for blockchain technology in the city of Toronto and will be presented March 19, the same day the public is scheduled to engage the council with commentary.

Jeremy Nation

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine.

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