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Eric Adams

Mayor Adams Pledged to Take Three Paychecks in Crypto. What Are They Worth?

Has Mayor Adams HODL’d his way to the bank?

2:54 PM EDT on May 5, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams smiling behind a lectern in New York City Hall

Mayor Eric Adams signs an executive order to consolidate all City technology agencies under a single authority on January 19, 2022. (Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Since shortly before taking office, but curiously not all that much before then, Mayor Eric Adams has been talking about his desire to turn New York City into a cryptocurrency hub.

Adams wants people to be able to do ordinary transactions with crypto and get paid in crypto—so much so that he even agreed to take his first three paychecks in cryptocurrency. In a tweet reply to Miami's Mayor Francis Suarez, he announced that, "In New York we always go big."

Skeptics might claim that the mayor’s interest in this burgeoning field has something to do with his close relationship with the former Mighty Ducks child actor now turned crypto booster and erstwhile Puertopian Brock Pierce, with whom Adams flew down to Puerto Rico on Pierce's private jet last year. (Adams proclaimed he paid for that trip—"my dollar, my dime, and my time"​—but unsurprisingly, questions remain.)

No. This is about innovation.

Innovation was the focal point of Adams's appearance at the Milken Institute on Tuesday, in Los Angeles. (The Milken Institute, by the way, was founded by famed junk bond criminal Michael Milken, one of the many crooks pardoned by Donald Trump during his presidency.) But it was very important for Eric Adams to fly all the way to Los Angeles, so he could be a part of a panel entitled "Disrupted: Leading the Digital Transformation."

So what kind of disruption does Adams have in mind? Cyber wallets.

Cyber wallets for the masses!  But how is Adams's own cyber wallet holding up? Hell Gate's own Cyber Wallet Inspector—me—decided to take a (mostly hypothetical) peek inside Eric Adams's accounts.

The mayor is paid $258,750 a year, which translates to biweekly payments of $9,951.92. We don’t know exactly what Adams's deductions are from his paycheck, like taxes, healthcare, 401k, etc., so we'll keep it simple and just use that full amount. Adams couldn't actually get paid in cryptocurrency, so his office explained that he would first be paid in U.S. currency, and then "before the funds are made available," Coinbase would convert his earnings into a mix of Bitcoin and Ethereum. We don't know the exact mix, so again, for illustrative purposes, we're just going to say 50 percent BTC and 50 percent ETH.

The mayor's first paycheck was disbursed on January 21, which, unluckily for him, was right in the middle of a massive downturn in the Bitcoin market. But did Adams savvily "buy the dip?" After a crushing loss during the first few weeks of his cryptocurrency experiment, BTC and ETH actually began to rebound. By the time of his second paycheck on February 4, Adams's first paycheck was still posting a loss, but not for long. By his third paycheck, on February 18, Bitcoin was up four percent from when he converted his first paycheck—meaning he was beginning to earn on that paycheck, and the second as well. (Ethereum mostly tracked along with Bitcoin during this time.)

If Adams's cryptocurrency paycheck plan did indeed conclude after three paychecks (if it ever really started in the first place), then the mayor deposited $29,855.76 into the Coinbase exchange, during three separate moments in the ups-and-downs of the turbulent crypto market. If he kept that money in the exchange until last night at 8 p.m. (HODL!), he'd be currently posting a profit of $895.64. Paycheck… disrupted!

Before he starts buying everyone a round at Zero Bond however, there's something else to keep in mind—fees!

Coinbase charges a fee of 1.49 percent for money that you convert into cryptocurrency—so we must take that amount out. Eric Adams has now made… $447.81! Okay, only bottle service for a few of you. But still a steady return for hizzoner.

Oh, what’s that, barkeep? The club doesn’t accept Bitcoin? No worries, the mayor will just withdraw all his money from his crypto wallet.

Look, here's a Bitcoin ATM for this massive withdrawal! Sweet. Wait, what's that? Another 1.5 percent fee for withdrawals? But that would leave the mayor…. having lost $3.72 on the whole affair. But maybe the real value was actually all the friends he made along the way.

The mayor's office has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Thanks for playing!

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