The City of Williston Becomes the First Municipality in the State to Accept Cryptocurrency for Utility Bills.
It is also the first city in the State of North Dakota. The payments are made by means of a service named “BitPay.” The residents of Williston visit the official website of the municipality, set up a virtual wallet, and then choose one of the virtual payment options for their bills, such as gas and water.
As cryptocurrencies of any kind acquire more fame, companies started accepting cryptocurrency in the transactions. So, the clients could directly make use of their cryptocurrency assets while purchasing a product. However, it has not yet been commonly heard that governmental institutions are also considering cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
Therefore, Williston’s bold move is important. Being the third municipality in the whole nation that adapts itself to the world of cryptocurrency, it will surely have an encouraging impact on the other municipalities.
Finance Director of the city, Hercules Cummings, said that Williston embraced the technological changes in finance: “We want to be a leader and position ourselves to be at the forefront of this emerging technology. We are exploring more payment methods to keep pace with existing payment alternatives, deliver to growing customer demand, and cater to users of all types. There are also a number of advantages to utilizing these online payment methods, including security, convenience, and cost savings.”
The fact that there is no standard around the worth of the virtual currency, however, constitutes an obstacle in front of the adoption of cryptocurrencies by the local and state governments. Hercules Cummings answers this by explaining that the service called “BitPay” protects the consumer against the volatility since it immediately converts the price: “the second you make that transaction… they instantaneously convert that price on the spot to fiat currencies, so that de-risks the consumer and the city.”
As Hercules Cummings referred, BitPay is an online method that has the advantage of cost savings. While the three percent fee is charged by Google Pay (Alphabet Inc), Apple Pay (Apple Inc), and Paypal, BitPay charges only one percent fee for online virtual payments.
The city of Williston is among the pioneers of this transformation, and Cummings believes that they will be followed by other municipalities. Having said that, he also states that the municipality proceeds cautiously. They are planning to allow payments with cryptocurrency in other sections like permits and licenses. However, they first want to check everything and observe how the first phase is received by the citizens.
Though rare, there are cities and councils that accept crypto payments outside of the US as well. For instance, residents in the canton called Zug in Switzerland are able to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency as of 2021.