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A Council Is Asking Benefit Claimants If They Have Any Bitcoins

A man in Swansea noticed a question about Bitcoin on an application for reduced council tax rates.

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When filling out council forms, you expect a few questions – but these days you might get asked about your Bitcoin holdings, according to this image from Redditor Rekees, aka Christopher Edwards, from Swansea.

The form, which was issued by Swansea City Council and is related to council tax reductions, asked the claimant:

Do you have any other savings and investments which you have not already told us about? (This would include cash and internet currency eg Bitcoins).

Edwards told BuzzFeed News that in his view, online cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could play an important role in local government transactions:

Allowing payments to and from council services will not only save tremendous amounts in banking charges, for both parties, but also open the door to bureaucratic reduction for departments who utilise Bitcoin's ability to be self-managed by software, facilitating interdepartmental transfer and use without the involvement of a financial authority or bank account transfer.

Those are the immediate gains but further future advantages could include more granular control over benefits paid, payment frequency, payroll control, public verifiable record keeping and many more.

Swansea City Council told us they are looking into the matter and we'll update when we hear back.

We also spoke to the Local Government Association, whose spokesperson said he wasn't aware of cryptocurrencies being mentioned on benefit forms anywhere else.

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Smith at patrick.smith@buzzfeed.com.

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