Philly Gov Will Officially Not Pursue CityCoin, CIO Mark Wheeler Says

RIP to PhillyCoin, or maybe JawnCoin, or GrittyCoin — none of them is happening right now, or any time in the near future.

After weeks of focused research and internal discussion, feedback from crypto enthusiasts and plenty of online chatter, Philly Chief Information Officer Mark Wheeler told that the city government will not be bringing philanthropy-minded cryptocurrency CityCoins to Philadelphia.

We first heard rumblings of the crypto possibility early last month, when Wheeler confirmed that the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) was researching CityCoins. The currency, powered by the Stacks protocol, offers a way for people to financially support their city, with 30% of the mined currency automatically going to a “city wallet” for certain civic projects. It’s currently set up in Miami, New York City and Austin.

“Where we landed was that we’re not going to pursue an opportunity with CityCoins, or any other similar program at this time,” Wheeler said.

Why conversations stopped

It came down to the fact that the program is very new, and that it would use crypto to fundraise. The City’s standard for fundraising is to be very specific in what that funding will be used for, and to be limited in fundraising for those goals, the CIO said. In contrast, CityCoins’ model is to raise funds on an ongoing basis. Plus, cryptocurrency in general is volatile.

The newness of the program also raises questions about its thoroughness. Wheeler said there could be other funding programs that fit better and could come to fruition after a request-for-proposal process. But local government at the moment doesn’t quite have the capacity to have an official Philadelphia cryptocurrency — and there isn’t a legal means for a government in Pennsylvania to hold cryptocurrency at the moment anyway, he said.

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