Christophe De Beukelaer, a Brussels member of parliament, announced he will take his full 2022 salary in bitcoin in an effort to raise awareness about the digital currency in Europe and spark conversations around its usage across different areas of society.
“I am the first in Europe, but not in the world, to want to shine the spotlight on cryptocurrencies with such an approach,” De Beukelaer said in a blog post. “I think it's not too late for Brussels and Belgium to be at the forefront of the cryptocurrency industry. We already have some great companies in the field but it's time to position ourselves clearly and create a real ecosystem.”
A wave of politicians has recently made the headlines with similar announcements, but while most of these pioneers had been from North America, De Beukelaer is taking the initiative to the East. The Brussels deputy said his move intends to wake up Europe to the potential benefits of Bitcoin in the region as the U.S. and Canada have so far led with clear actions to get ahead in terms of adoption.
Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez last year set out on a mission to make his city the U.S. capital of Bitcoin after pushing welcoming legislation that would allow city employees to get paid in the digital currency and enable citizens to pay city fees in bitcoin. Despite the suggested laws being stalled, Suarez took the initiative to get paid in bitcoin indirectly by converting his paycheck into BTC through the Lightning payments app Strike.
Soon after Suarez took large strides to attract the cryptocurrency industry to his city, New York City Mayor Eric Adams joined the friendly competition by announcing similar measures, mostly around the intention to become an innovation hub for Bitcoin-related products and services. Adams also converted some of his paychecks to bitcoin.
De Beukelaer said getting paid in bitcoin during this year serves as a means to attract attention to the peer-to-peer currency in the Old Continent which, despite housing notable companies in the industry, risks lacking behind North American markets.
The Brussels deputy said in the blog post that in addition to raising interest in cryptocurrency by policymakers, he intends to show “confidence in this new world” and encourage “deep reflection on our monetary system.”
“Monetary policy is a political subject…which has been left in the hands of technocrats for too long,” the blog post said. “All economists warn us that we are entering a very risky period: loss of confidence, inflation, printing of banknotes like never before, digital euro... However, these subjects are never addressed in the democratic debate. What is currency? What's the point? What role for a Central Bank? I want to put these topics in the public square in 2022.”