Nothing is certain but death and taxes
Nothing is certain but death
A state legislator in New York has introduced a law bill that would make it legal for state agencies to accept payment in cryptocurrency for taxes, fines and other "financial obligations." State Assembly bill A2532 was introduced last week by state Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, who was previously part of a state taskforce to …
"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."
Some old dead obviously un-hip dudes.
The Proscribed Powers clause is one that sovereign-citizen types and other ninnies often trot out. I remember people back in the '80s protesting that the MBTA couldn't use tokens for subways and payment cards for buses and surface trains, because of the PP clause.
There have been cases where SCOTUS has struck down some state action under PP clause elements regarding money (I§10§1.3-5, "coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts"), but not a whole lot of them, as I recall. There was some issue with Missouri and some sort of certificate it issued that could be used for paying taxes ... ah, Craig v Missouri (1844). And there was a case where the Court held that in some particular circumstance someone was entitled to demand specie rather than paper issued by a state bank (Gwin v Breedlove, also 1844).
Mostly it's a big nothingburger since the Gold Clause Cases, in which SCOTUS decided Congress has a plenary power to regulate money in the US, so tough luck, precious-metal fans.
If you're curious, you can find any number of extended rants about the GCCs and how this is an "incorrect interpretation" and so on. However, since declaring a still-in-force SCOTUS decision an "incorrect interpretation" has all the legal power of pissing against the wind, it really doesn't matter. Don't like it? Become a lawyer and then a famous judge and then popular with high-ranking folks in the Justice Department and then get yourself appointed to the Supreme Court, and then convince four other justices that you're right, and then wait for someone to petition a relevant case. Pretty straightforward, really.
Or to put it the other way around: people should be able to pay states using the method of value exchange mandated by the state.
I'm going to get flack for this, but if an electronic 'currency' cannot deliver fiat cash on demand, then it's not a methof of value exchange. The nice thing about fiat currency is that you can give me (or I can give you) a buck or a quid or a euro with the reasonable expectation that (a) neither of us will have to pay anything to hand it over and (b) it's going to have pretty much the same value tomorrow as today.
Why should a state accept the risk of a crypto currency crash? Look what happened after some well-known people have bought crypto, or what has happened to a number of well-known exchanges.
I have some passing sympathy for the legislator's suggestion that the state should at least consider taking Venmo, CashApp etc (there are plenty of people who are unbanked or keep most of their money on apps instead of bank accounts). I have no idea what the costs or practicalities would be.
But the idea that NYS should accept payment in another currency is putting it at real risk for no benefit. The forex risk could be significant. It would be nuts for a US agency to seek payment in a softer currency - this isn't Communist Bulgaria trying to earn some deutsche marks...
All the bill says is that each specific agency would have the authority to decide to accept cryptocurrency payments, and even then presumably with whatever restrictions they like.
I mean, I don't see any real reason to support this, but it's not like the bill requires state agencies to accept cryptocurrencies.
But, yes, allowing agencies to accept Venmo and so on is probably a more useful change. On the other hand, if there are still agencies that (as the article says) don't accept credit/debit cards, I don't have a lot of hope for it. Maybe put some pressure on those agencies to modernize while you're at it.