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Philadelphia Gives Citycoins The Stamp Of Approval

Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia has given the green light for the city to begin investigating a relationship with CityCoins, a cryptocurrency organization that has sparked interest from mayors in New York and Miami.

Mark Wheeler, the city’s chief information officer, said Monday that “Philly is ready” for CityCoins, a group of cryptocurrency fans and developers that generates specialty coins for places it considers to be tech-friendly. Anyone with a computer can mine a city-specific coin after it is activated by the organization — current iterations include MiamiCoin and NYCCoin — with 30% of the value of each token being deposited into a digital wallet that can only be utilized by the specified city.

Only Miami has formally interacted with CityCoins, with city officials signing an agreement last fall to gain access to a digital wallet backed by MiamiCoin mining operations. The value of the Miami wallet, which peaked at more than $32 million on Nov. 30, has subsequently plunged to around $16.7 million due to the bitcoin-led cryptocurrency crash.

However, Wheeler told StateScoop that he has persuaded the mayor and other Philadelphia officials to join the cause next.

“I’ve had a number of conversations internally with the city government within the mayor’s Cabinet and with my direct boss, Stephanie Tipton, who is the chief administrative officer,” Wheeler said. “We’ve had three or four conversations internally, and I finally had one with the mayor where he was very enthusiastic and thought it was a good idea.”

Kenney authorized Wheeler to begin a formal vetting process before entering into a partnership with CityCoins, which will most likely require input from the Philadelphia Law Department as well as a review of any Pennsylvania laws governing relationships with cryptocurrency organizations, according to Wheeler. According to Wheeler, Miami’s “gift arrangement” with CityCoins will be evaluated.

Kenney’s office said in a statement to StateScoop that Philadelphia is “excited about the potential of donations from a CityCoins programme to address pressing challenges in the city,” such as support for digital-equity efforts, rental assistance, and arts programmes.
“CityCoins is an innovative method of fundraising and a way for people from all over the world who love Philadelphia to contribute and support programmes that do a lot of good,” according to the statement.

While the statement went on to say that Philadelphia is still in the “early phases” of examining if bitcoin may benefit the city, Wheeler described the mayor’s enthusiasm.