Mayor Joel Robideaux of Lafayette, the fourth largest city in Louisiana, has put forward a proposal to create the city’s own cryptocurrency to raise funds for its ailing finances.

Lafayette’s budget is currently in crisis and still recovering from the floods which hit Louisiana in 2016 where over 60,000 homes in the state were destroyed by floodwaters. That, along with the 2014 oil crash, has left the city without a workable budget. Local industries were hit particularly badly in the flooding, such as the sugarcane industry along with many local businesses.

Mayor Robideaux sees cryptocurrency as an alternative financing structure along with additional taxes as a way in which the local economy could be lifted by becoming a “technology hub”.  Recognizing that banking, finance systems and payments systems will be completely disrupted by new technologies which promise have a positive impact on economies, the mayor cites blockchain tech as an answer to the status quo in Lafayette.

Robideaux has plans for the funding of a “living lab” of blockchain developers funded through an initial coin offering and is encouraging Lafayette’s citizens to consider new technologies so that the city can provide a more transparent and productive local government.

Lafayette is not the only city to be considering blockchain as a rescue package to a failing economy. The city of Berkeley, California, announced plans to launch its Berkeley Blockchain Initiative (BBI) this year to use tokenized municipal bonds to finance affordable housing projects to help its massive homelessness problem. It had a similar idea 20 years ago with a local currency called ‘Berkley Bucks’. The project was initiated by members of the local council, the UC Berkely Blockchain lab and San Francisco-based startup Neighborly.

Tech billionaire Tim Draper said businesses are dumping California due to its high taxes, incompetent government, crumbling infrastructure and terrible school system, claiming, “Anybody in business wants to leave California… all of the incentives are to leave.”

With Lafayette in dire need of a boost to its economy, many are describing Robideaux’s proposal as a desperate bid to inflate the city’s coffers.  Currently, the mayor has not made any specific indication of how he plans to put the new package into place.

 

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