Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently popped up at a cryptocurrency event called ETHDenver and proclaimed that he wants his home to be one of “the first digital states” and a crypto haven.
During a Yahoo Finance Presents interview this week, the 46-year-old governor laid out a bit more detail on what that could actually mean for people living there.
“It's frankly not as exciting as it sounds,” he said with a grin. “It's a basic convenience thing” for citizens when they interact with the government.
Recently, Polis said Colorado will soon accept cryptocurrency — either Bitcoin (BTC-USD) or Ethereum (ETH-USD) — for state taxes and for fee payments starting this summer.
Polis says he plans to expand further in the coming months to apply the same ideas to other state fees.
“It won't be too long before renewing your driver's license, hunting passes, fishing passes, you'll be able to do it in crypto,” he says.
The plans come with an important caveat: “We're not holding the crypto, to be clear.” He calls it a new transactional layer: Anyone can pay in cryptocurrency that's immediately converted to dollars.
Everything inside the government still happens with fiat currency, otherwise known as regular money.
The governor compares this type of transaction to paying with a credit card — “but with thankfully significantly reduced transactional costs.” He also expects only around 1% of his constituents to take up the government’s offer right away.
Polis has long been one of the most crypto-fluent public officials in the U.S. In 2014, he became the first member of Congress to accept donations in Bitcoin.
While in Washington he co-founded the Congressional Blockchain Caucus in 2016 and often spoke about the industry in its early days.
During his recent speech in Denver, he laid out more potential uses for crypto in government — including using the blockchain to help with voting overseas and even to keep track of livestock.
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Prior to his stint as governor, Polis served in Congress for a decade, representing Boulder and Denver’s northwestern suburbs. Since being elected governor in 2018, Polis has proven popular with voters and is expected to win a second term this fall.
During this week's conversation, he also touched on topics like a better way for Democrats to approach inflation and his conversations with the oil industry in his state.
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.
- Yahoo Finance