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Seminole Tax Collector Joel Greenberg begins accepting bitcoin as payment

If cash, check or credit card seems too old-fashioned, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg said Monday his office will begin accepting bitcoin as payment for new IDs, license plates and property taxes starting next month.

Greenberg said accepting bitcoin and bitcoin cash as a payment method will promote transparency and accuracy in payment.

“There’s no risk to the taxpayer,” said Greenberg, who has often raised eyebrows since his 2016 election by moves including encouraging certain employees with concealed-weapons permits to carry a firearm openly as a security measure. “Blockchain technology is the future of the whole financial industry.”

Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies like it, aren’t issued by the government or regulated by a bank and exist solely online. Detractors of the digital currency say its volatility makes it risky.

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Eddie Ayala, spokesman for Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, said his office isn’t considering allowing bitcoin payments.

“We haven’t had any discussion,” Ayala said. “Frankly, I think the currency is so volatile that I don’t think it makes sense.”

David Jordan, chief deputy for Lake County Tax Collector Bob McKee, said no customer has asked to pay taxes in bitcoin.

“Our staff would have called and mentioned that,” Jordan said.

He said it was interesting but “not on our to-do list.”

He also said he was unsure if there was a statutory provision in Florida law that allows a tax collector to accept cryptocurrency as payment.

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But BitPay, the payment processing company with which Greenberg reached a deal, said it eliminates the volatility from the transaction because it guarantees a price for bitcoin for 15 minutes after a bill is generated.

“The county tax office won’t face any volatility risk,” BitPay head of compliance Jeremie Beaudry said.

Under terms of the deal, taxpayers would pay BitPay in the currency through the tax collector’s website, then BitPay would compensate Greenberg’s office in cash. BitPay keeps a 1 percent…

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