New York City is looking for new ways to make it easier for residents and visitors to pay for their parking tickets – and Bitcoin is one of a range of new technologies under consideration.
The city’s Department of Finance has issued a ‘Request for Information’ (RFI) entitled “Mobile Solutions for Payment and Hearing Scheduling of Parking Tickets,” which makes it clear that they are looking into novel payment technologies and mobile friendly solutions for on-the-spot payment of parking tickets. Bitcoin is mentioned alongside other internet based solutions such as ApplePay and PayPal, as well as more traditional payment methods such as credit cards.
RFI requests such as this are designed to allow government departments to draw in industry expertise about novel approaches and new technologies, often prior to soliciting concrete proposals for work. The mention of Bitcoin suggests that the city would be open to proposals from crypto-currency firms wanting use block chain technology, for both making payments and also for recording evidence of parking violations.
This will not be the first time that New York City has hit the headlines with a Bitcoin related story – the city drew global attention after publishing a proposal to regulate crypto-currencies which many feared could become the model for governments to crack down on Bitcoin use and stifle innovation. The city is a global centre of traditional finance and home to both the infamous Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. As such it is a power base for many of the entrenched interests of the financial world which Bitcoin sees itself as challenging. But with a revised version of the ‘Bitlicense’ regulations already being drafted it seems that NYC may be adopting a friendlier attitude to Bitcoin.