The prospect of making payments to local authorities in Bitcoin could – and should – be a possibility one day soon, according to a leading UK politician.
Speaking to the Daily Express, Eddie Hughes – Member of Parliament for Walsall North – told the national UK newspaper he was determined to urge his colleagues to gain a better understanding of cryptocurrency.
“It just feels like it gets talked about a lot, wherever you go in the UK, and as MPs we have a duty to understand it,” he told the Express.
“Only recently I met with the RNLI, which is now accepting charitable donations through cryptocurrency – if we can do that, what’s to stop us being able to pay council tax and other bills with Bitcoin?”
His call chimes with a scheme recently launched in Ohio where businesses can register with a website that allows them to pay business taxes with crypto.
That initiative is the work of Josh Mandel – Ohio State Treasurer – who said he was proud to make Ohio the first American state to enable taxpayers to pay with cryptocurrency.
He said: “We’re doing this for two main reasons – first, to give more options and ease to taxpayers in how they pay their taxes, and second, to really plant the flag in Ohio and say that Ohio is a place that’s embracing cryptocurrency, and embracing blockchain technology.”
Mr Hughes – who described himself as a “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge” – also told the Express he would like to see a local authority in the UK “plant a flag” and show the British public that a similar initiative could work.
“I’d love it, and I’d love us to be taking the lead in Walsall,” he said.
Behind the curve
“You’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve, and our country is in an interesting position right now – we need to be seen as a progressive country.
“We are at a crossroads and we’re about to determine our future – one in which taking the lead in this field could prove very beneficial.”
But he stressed that wider acceptance of cryptocurrency in the UK was being held back by a lack of easy-to-understand information.
“People not understanding how the transaction works is holding us back in terms of mass adoption,” he added.
“And also how accessible it can be – it needs to appear like an app that people will use so they can become familiar with it in a safe and secure way.
“People will have seen the select committee saying this sector is the Wild West and it was very low key, and suggested there was a problem with scaling up and it was something to be avoided, but the reality is quite the opposite.”