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Seminole County Tax Collector Leads the Way

Seminole County Tax Collector  Government officials all over the global have been investigating, researching and considering the using blockchain technologies for a few years now. It seems that over the past 2 years, every week found another news story about blockchain use being looked into, laws regarding blockchain technology being introduced and even passed or even how governments were creating their very ow cryptocurrency. The interest in the blockchain realm by government officials and entities has been overwhelming and a welcoming sign of things to come. Yet, while it may not be the most innovative news or the first time we have seen a government agency take steps to embrace the blockchain, the Seminole County Tax Collector’s office in Florida is the very first US Government Agency to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for services. This is a huge step in the adoption of cryptocurrency on a more mainstream level. As has happened with the news on governments and the blockchain, hopefully this is the precursor to weekly news pieces about which new government entities accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

Video: NBC News Local Coverage of Seminole County Tax Collector Accepting Bitcoin:  Video Link

Seminole County Tax Collector Seeks to Lower Fees and Increase Security

The Seminole County Tax Collector is a position that is gotten by winning an election. The county residents vote on who will be their tax collector every 2 years. Joel Greenberg, the current tax collector and the man who has stepped up to make the Seminole County Tax Collector the first US government agency to accept Bitcoin, was elected in 2016 and took office in 2017. He replaced the former Seminole County Tax Collector, Ray Valdes, who had held the office for the previous 28 years. Mr. Greenberg campaigned on the need for change in, not only, the normal politically motivated procedures, but he also strongly spoke out for the need to modernize the Seminole County Tax Collector office. He promised to introduce new technologies, improve the infrastructure, streamline budgets and improve customer service. This latest announcement to accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash as forms of payment show that he is not only accomplishing what he promised, but he is actually leading the way for the rest of the world. Where most politicians would be too worried about the risk they would incur to their re-election prospects, Joel Greenberg took the leap and has done something that no other politician has ever done before.

Seminole County Tax Collector Dedicated to Promises

This speaks volumes about the commitment that he has to his campaign promises. While this would normally only be something that the residents of Seminole County, Florida would benefit from, because of the nature of his decision to accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, the rest of the world stands to benefit greatly. In a statement, he said that the main reason his office decided to start accepting cryptocurrency is to make an effort to organize fee collection, decrease fraud and identity theft occurrences, and increase the clarity and precision of payments. Joel Greenberg’s office added that do not feel accepting cryptocurrency as payment for services will cause any risk for the county, or bring about price buoyancy. He went on to say,

“The mission of my administration is to offer our customers a more efficient, faster, and a smarter experience. I also aim to integrate the government office from the 18th century into the present 21st century by adopting the use of cryptocurrency as a form of payment”.

Seminole County Tax Collector: Location, Location, Location!

Seminole County Tax Collector  There is still a long way to go before we can consider cryptocurrencies a “regular” form of payment, but it has to be started somewhere by someone. What better place to get it started, other than sunny, Central Florida. Seminole County Florida is located just north of neighboring Orange County and just south of neighboring Volusia County. Orange County, Florida is home to Orlando and all of the things that make Orlando the “Theme Park Capital of the World”: Disney World, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Universal Studios, Sea World, and hundreds of other attractions. Volusia County is home to Daytona Beach, which has been dubbed “The World’s Most Famous Beach”. Daytona Beach is also home to the Daytona International Speedway, where NASCAR fans can watch the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 400 each year. In between these two Mega Tourism locations is Seminole County. A moderately urban area, considered part of the greater Orlando area, Seminole County is home to some 500,000 residents. It is these people who will now have the ability to pay with Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash for things like Driver’s Licenses, Property taxes, Birth Certificates, Hunting Licenses, Business Licenses and even Concealed Weapons Permits.

Seminole County Tax Collector in Prime Position to Spread Bitcoin

Being sandwiched between Orlando and Daytona is a benefit for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as it will allow both neighboring tourist destinations to monitor the Seminole County Tax Collector experience with accepting Bitcoin as a payment method. Given the close proximity of Daytona and Orlando, they already have a close relationship with their Seminole County associates. This will give them valuable insight into the viability of accepting cryptocurrency payments and could very well help them to make the decision to begin accepting cryptocurrencies themselves, sooner than they would have otherwise. It is pretty safe to assume that a government agency’s acceptance of bitcoin will be more than enough validation in the eyes of the general populace. This will lead to local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments. Spreading this same theory to neighboring Volusia County, where over 8 million tourists spent an estimated $6.09 Billion USD in 2017, and Orange County, who saw 72 million tourists who spent an estimated $55.4 billion USD will help to spread the word and get more people involved in cryptocurrencies.

Seminole County Tax Collector Helps to Legitimatize Cryptocurrency

Moving the world closer to making cryptocurrencies a global mainstream means of payment is not a process that will happen fast. In fact, it has already been in motion for 10 years and a majority of the world’s 7.6 billion people still do not even know what Bitcoin is or how it works. Those who have heard of it in passing have simply written it off as some internet thing that is not to be taken seriously or think of it as an instrument that promotes illegal activities and the risk of being scammed. The biggest hurdle that Bitcoin, and all other cryptocurrencies face, is receiving a stamp of approval from people, organizations and entities that people trust.  While getting confirmation of Bitcoin’s legitimacy from your sister or cousin is a good start, seeing that your local government has started accepting bitcoin is a far superior way to get confirmation that cryptocurrency is an actual, legal and trusted form of currency.

The features like security, transparency, cost, etc.… automatically get changed from marketing propaganda that people assume is simply “all-talk” and turned into fact when they have an authoritative source of that information. An Authoritative source can be different to many people and can vary widely in scope. However, the government is generally considered by most to be an accepted authority on things which have legality, legitimacy and acceptance in question. While other government agencies and politicians have been dragging their feet, denying to their constituents the security, transparency and lower costs associated with cryptocurrencies, the Seminole County Tax Collector, Mr. Joel M. Greenberg has stepped up and given this to residents of Seminole County. While other politicians are standing in the shadows, worried more about the risk to their political careers, Mr. Greenberg has put the people first and is helping to usher in a new, digital age of financial transactions.

Seminole County Tax Collector & Cryptocurrency Have Lots in Common

Seminole County Tax Collector

More efficient. Faster. Cheaper. Transparent. Fraud Prevention. Security.

All of those are words used by the Seminole County Tax Collector when speaking about the decision to accept cryptocurrencies. Coincidentally, all of the things that cryptocurrency itself boasts when discussing the reason behind the cryptocurrency movement. These same benefits can, and should be, used at all levels of government, everywhere around the world. Giving people these benefits in financial transactions should be a right, not a feature. Joel Greenberg has taken the normal, all-too-common practice of politicians dragging their feet, being afraid of political backlash, avoiding a situation where they would be going against the grain and he has shown the courage to implement change.

It is wonderful to find a politician who actually keeps his campaign promises. It is very surprising to find a politician who is brave enough to implement any type of changes. Finding one willing to actually implement technologies that are totally untested in this setting is simply unbelievable. Within his first 18 months in office, Joel Greenberg has taken the Seminole County Tax Collector and transformed the office from a local government agency, meant to serve a population of 500,000 people and turned it into a crusader for governmental cryptocurrency adoption, effectively serving all 7.6 billion people around the world. Mr. Greenberg has already showed he is serious about living up to his campaign promises and whether intended or not, has become a politician that has gained about 7 billion more people who owe him a debt of gratitude.

Seminole County Tax Collector Partners with BitPay

Of course, we have to realize that one county level elected official cannot change the world overnight. Processing cryptocurrency payments would, quite literally, take an act of congress. To avoid this, undoubtedly years-long process, the Seminole County Tax Collector has partnered with BitPay, one of the leading cryptocurrency payment processors. BitPay has been a leader and innovator of cryptocurrency payments for many years. You can find them involved in some of the most revolutionary advancements in the cryptocurrency sphere since bitcoin’s early days. Data found from various sources shows that BitPay has as many as 1 million merchants who process bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash payments using its services.

While there may be a million places where you can spend Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash using BitPay, Seminole County Tax Collector is BitPay’s first government partnership ever. Jeremie Beaudry, the head of compliance at BitPay said,

“We started the company because we know blockchain can transform the financial industry, make payments more secure and faster, and also make payments less expensive”.

He further added that,

 “We have made our number one government agency, which is to accept bitcoin and bitcoin cash. All of which was possible because of the tax collector’s office in Seminole county”.

All payments made to the Seminole County Tax Collector using Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash will be automatically converted into US Dollars and deposited into the tax collector’s bank account the following business day after payment is made. This totally eliminates the risks of financial losses due to price volatility of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. This partnership between BitPay and the Seminole County Tax Collector is another example of how Mr. Joel Greenberg has thoroughly researched, investigated and made a smart decision to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Seminole County Tax Collector Accepts Bitcoin Conclusion

Seminole County Tax Collector  Every single day, there are new advances in technology. Some of these advances are considered risky, too-new or have other attributes that cause the adoption of the new tech to be delayed, put-off or simply ignored. In the case of politics, it is all too common to find that politicians are hesitant to take a chance on anything that is not already well-proven, widely accepted and safe from risk to their political careers. It is interesting to think just how many times that the citizens of the world have been held back, denied these advancements and missed out on opportunity due to this political practice of covering their own asses. It takes real courage and dedication for a politician to make the move to implement changes, especially in areas that have received as much criticism as Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have.

The Seminole County Tax Collector, Joel M. Greenberg has shown that he is dedicated to keeping his campaign promises and also dedicated to moving into the 21st century. While the benefit of paying in cryptocurrencies for things like your driver’s license or property taxes is limited to the residents of Seminole County, Florida, the rest of the world owes Mr. Greenberg a debt of gratitude, as he has broken the barrier and set precedent for other government agencies to start accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin’s legitimacy, along with the legitimacy of all other cryptocurrencies needed an authoritative entity to stand up and show society that cryptocurrency was okay. That is exactly what has been done in Seminole County, Florida.

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About Gene

Gene writes about cryptocurrencies, blockchain & Fintech. He lives, with his girlfriend and son, in Daytona Beach, FL gene.cotillo@coinstaker.com ~ BitcoinTalk: toodamntired

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