Eric Adams, the city’s crypto-loving chief executive, announced on Thursday that he’s going to convert the whole of his first paycheck later today into two cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, in a bid to attract more of the growing crypto and blockchain industry to town. “New York is the center of the world, and we want it to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations,” Adams said in a press release. “Being on the forefront of such innovation will help us create jobs, improve our economy, and continue to be a magnet for talent from all over the globe.
It wasn’t even three months ago that Adams, then mayor-elect, boasted on Twitter that he would take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin as part of a game of one-upmanship with Miami mayor Francis Suarez, who’s vying to make his city America’s crypto capital. Maybe it was the euphoria of the moment — after all, the floor at Adams’s favorite club, Zero Bond, had just barely been swept after his Election Night party, and Bitcoin was trading near all-time highs. He even hobnobbed with crypto billionaires such as Brock Pierce, galavanting on his G4 to Puerto Rico. (Adams’s campaign recently paid him back $2,000 for the trip, according to updated disclosures.) But even after his tweet, Adans went on TV to double down on the promise, saying that cryptocurrencies should be taught in schools and that young New Yorkers stop him to ask him what the digital currencies are.
The mayor’s quarter-million-dollar salary, however, won’t be paid out in crypto by the city. The Adams administration said in its announcement that regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor prevented him from getting paid directly in cryptocurrencies — though, as I reported in November, the city also doesn’t appear to have the capacity to do it. So he’s going to do what a lot of people do and open an account with Coinbase, the crypto exchange, which has started a service that allows people to convert part or all of their salaries.
Tonight’s investment is a first for an acting New York City mayor. Adams’ previous financial disclosures don’t mention anything about his owning them, and a spokesman confirmed that this will be his first cryptocurrency purchase. Since his announcement, Bitcoin shot up by about $500. It probably won’t be too long before he’s selling the Brooklyn Bridge as an NFT.