A candidate for mayor in Lewisville thinks he’s found the key to funding the city’s police force without raising taxes. Fourth time candidate Winston Edmondson is pitching the idea of a municipal cryptocurrency to get more police officers and equipment.
Edmondson calls the cryptocurrency Blue Coin. People would buy it from the city and use it like cash at participating local businesses. The businesses that agree to take it would then give a portion of that sale to the city.
“By saying they want to back the blue coin, they’re saying they want to give a percentage of every transaction. So basically you can think of it as a voluntary tax.”
Business owner Jason McDermott has been the first to give his support for the plan.
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"[It’s] for the benefit of the Lewisville Police Department. To be honest with you, they deserve that and more,” said McDermott.
McDermott, who owns Hat Tricks, believes other businesses will follow his lead and sign on if Blue Coin becomes a reality.
“I think that a currency that benefits the community that’s regulated by the city, who wouldn’t adopt it,” said McDermott.
Jason Tyra, a Dallas CPA who specializes in cryptocurrency, says he’s seen companies try to generate revenue like this but not a city. He added it would take a lot of buy-in from both businesses and customers to make it work.
"I'm not necessarily convinced upfront that Lewisville contains a critical mass of early adopters who are going to want to use this and who are also going to want to support the use case, which is the Lewisville Police Department,” said Tyra.
But Edmondson is hoping people in Lewisville are willing to bet on the risk.
"If we all want to get on board and contribute, just imagine how much money we could make doing that," said Edmondson.
When asked how much, Edmondson points to a city sales tax that already goes to the police department that generates about $2.5 million in personnel costs.
But in the new frontier of cryptocurrency, it’s unknown whether Blue Coin would generate the same amount.
“One of the things that’s exciting about this space is that we’re so early that people have the opportunity to experiment. They have the opportunity to come up with something that doesn’t have a clear path to success just to see what happens, to throw something up against the wall. This will either work or it won’t. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, someone will think of something else,” said Tyra.
Edmondson will be running against incumbent Mayor Rudy Durham.
Durham says he hadn't heard of the proposal before NBC5 reached out.
"The city should not be involved in creating any currency," said Durham.
Penny Mallet is also running against Durham and Edmondson.