New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams (D) on Sunday said he is “going to look at” potentially encouraging businesses to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, after the incoming mayor made headlines last week when he said he will take his first three payments in elected office in bitcoin.
Asked by co-host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he will consider pushing businesses to implement cryptocurrency payments, Adams said “We’re going to tread carefully,” adding “we’re going to get it right.”
Adams turned heads last week when he announced on Twitter that his first three payments as mayor of New York City would be issued as bitcoin. He said the Big Apple is “going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries,” adding “In New York we always go big.”
The mayor-elect elaborated on that vow on Sunday, telling Bash he made the announcement to “send a signal.”
“This city was the Empire State. We made empires. Now we are destroying empires every day. This is a center of innovation, self-driving cars, drone development, cybersecurity, life sciences. And so when I talked about blockchain and Bitcoins, young people on the street stopped and asked me, what is that? What is it about? We need to inspire the energy again,” he said.
Bitcoin has risen in popularity in recent years, though many are still unsure of how cryptocurrency is used. Last month, the U.S. overtook China as the largest Bitcoin center after Beijing started cracking down on cryptocurrency mining.
Pressed by Bash on if he can explain what exactly bitcoin is, Adams laughed, noting “even experts will have a challenge doing that.”
“It is a cryptocurrency. It is a new way of paying for goods and services throughout the entire globe. And that is what we must do, open our schools to teach the technology and teach this new way of thinking when it comes down to paying for goods and services,” he added.
Adams won New York City’s mayoral race last week, defeating Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa by roughly 383,000 votes.