By Karen Pierog
Feb 12 (Reuters) - The city of Miami is seeking to embracebitcoin in its operations, a move that could bring dividends interms of attracting technology companies, Mayor Francis Suarezsaid on Friday.
The city commission late on Thursday approved in a 4-1 votea first step in the mayor's proposal to allow bitcoin to be usedto pay city workers and for city residents and businesses tomake fee and tax payments with the cryptocurrency.
"Cities like Miami, we're trying to attract tech town,"Suarez said in a telephone interview. "It's part of a largerplay if you will to position Miami as one of the mosttech-forward cities in the country."
While an initial step involves finding a third-party vendorto facilitate bitcoin transactions, the mayor also wants theFlorida city, which ranks as the 42nd-most populous city in theUnited States, to explore investing a limited amount of itsfunds in bitcoin as a long-term asset hedge.
"I firmly believe that when and if Amazon and orApple adopts bitcoin as a payment structure the damwill essentially break because at that point you're talkingabout a very high volume of transactions being able to usebitcoin," Suarez said. "I just wanted us to be on the cuttingedge and sort of ahead of the game."
Other U.S. local or state government have dipped their toesinto cryptocurrency, including Florida's Seminole County,according to media reports. In 2018, the Ohio Treasurer's Officelaunched a cryptocurrency tax payment portal, which wassuspended in 2019 over a legal issue.
(Reporting By Karen Pierog; editing by Diane Craft)