Philadelphia to Explore CityCoins

Philadelphia will soon join Miami, Austin, and New York City in collaborating with CityCoins to produce cryptocurrency for the city of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney has given the city permission to begin exploring a partnership with CityCoins, a cryptocurrency company that has piqued the interest of mayors in New York and Miami.

Mark Wheeler, the city’s chief information officer, said Monday that “Philly is ready” for CityCoins, a startup that generates specialist cryptocurrencies for tech-friendly communities. Anyone with a computer can mine a city-specific coin after it is activated by the organization — current iterations include MiamiCoin and NYCCoin — 30 percent of each token’s worth is transferred into a digital wallet that can only be used by the designated city.

So far, only Miami has formally partnered with CityCoins, with city authorities agreeing to use a digital wallet backed by MiamiCoin mining activities last fall. The price of the Miami wallet, which increased at more than $32 million on Nov. 30, has drastically dropped to around $16.7 million because of the bitcoin-led cryptocurrency drop.

Wheeler, on the other hand, told StateScoop that he has persuaded the mayor and other authorities in Philadelphia to join the cause next.

“I’ve had a lot of internal meetings with municipal management, including with my direct boss, Stephanie Tipton, who is the chief administrative officer,” Wheeler said. “After three or four internal discussions, I finally had one with the mayor, who was extremely enthusiastic and thought it was a terrific idea.”

An ‘Innovative Form of Fundraising’

Kenney gave Wheeler the green light to begin a formal vetting process before partnering with CityCoins, which will likely include participation from the Philadelphia Law Department as well as a review of any Pennsylvania laws governing ties with cryptocurrency groups, according to Wheeler. Miami’s “gift arrangement” with CityCoins, according to Wheeler, will likely be reviewed.

Kenney’s office said in a statement to StateScoop that the city is “excited about the potential of donations from a CityCoins program to target pressing challenges in the city,” such as support for digital-equity efforts, rental assistance, and arts programs.

The statement added, “CityCoins is an innovative type of fundraising and a way for people from all over the world who love Philadelphia to contribute and support programs that accomplish a lot of good.”

While the statement continued that Philadelphia is still in the “early stages” of examining if bitcoin can benefit the city, Wheeler described the mayor’s enthusiasm.

“Kenney was relieved to learn that there are people out there who would like participating in CityCoins.” “We’re not just looking for folks from Philadelphia to make these donations, but it could come from anywhere because you love Philly and support the city,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler’s Podcast Feed

Another reason Wheeler is enthusiastic about CityCoins is that the technology behind it won’t require the city or CityCoins to set up new servers, which he believes will reduce the mining process’ environmental impact. However, he stated that there is still more to discover.

“It’s done in software, and I think we can simply say, ‘This isn’t bitcoin, and it doesn’t require the setup of additional servers or the consumption of a lot of energy.’ “I believe that assertion is true and provable,” Wheeler added. “You can look at STX” — CityCoins’ blockchain technology — “and what it implies for contributing to the bitcoin blockchain, that’s a fair question, but that’s how we square that aspect of it.”

Wheeler said he’ll be “coordinating” the CityCoins vetting process and intends to reach a deal with the company by late spring, but no firm deadline has been set. Part of the process has been listening to podcasts about how cryptocurrencies and blockchain are being used in state and municipal governments, including those presented by Laura Shin, a journalist, and Nathaniel Whittemore, an investor.

For the time being, Wheeler believes the ideal use case for blockchain technology in Philadelphia is to improve digital credentialing, a process that does not need the usage of cryptocurrencies.

Without fixing the inflation issue, cities won’t be able to reap much benefits

One of the most pressing problems raised by the cryptocurrency is who should decide where CityCoin funds are spent: residents, PhillyCoin investors, or city officials.

In February, urban technology researcher (and Eric Adams transition team member) Mike Bloomberg asked, “What are the things that local currencies claim to assist solve?” “CityCoins does not begin with that query. They begin by creating a coin and instructing cities to think out what problems it can solve.”

The first donation will go toward a rental assistance program in Miami. Mayor Suarez also mentioned that the program may be used to promote financial literacy or to reduce taxes.

In Philadelphia, Wheeler recommended using PhillyCoins to boost the PHLConnectED broadband internet plan or fund digital literacy programs developed in collaboration with the Digital Literacy Alliance and the Office of Innovation and Technology via Discord.

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is not investment advice – it is provided for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of EGG Finance. Every investment and all trading involves risk, so you should always perform your own research prior to making decisions. We do not recommend investing money you cannot afford to lose.