By Sean Chen
Starting this month, the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) will be exclusively accepting bitcoin payment for fines. In an effort to incorporate new technology into law enforcement on campus, bitcoin will be the sole valid form of payment for future bicycle, parking and traffic violations.
Currently, tickets issued by the SUDPS are payable by check. The planned change will make value-equivalent amounts of bitcoin the required payment option. However, due to currently high transaction costs, there will also be an additional fee on top of the actual fine value for payments.
“[The SUDPS has] never done anything like this before,” said SUDPS spokesperson Bill Larson. “But it’s 2018 and about time for the Stanford public safety force and student body to embrace the digital age.”
According to Larson, the policy change is part of a larger University push for the use of cryptocurrencies in transactions.
Stanford Bitcoin Club officer Charles Lu ’18 expressed enthusiasm for the shift.
“This [policy] is good for bitcoin,” Lu said. “As a university in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford is at the forefront of technological advancements, so we’re sending the message here that blockchain really is the future whether you like it or not.”
Some have expressed concerns about the volatility of bitcoin’s value making transactions difficult.
“Though I appreciate the intention, I don’t see how [the SUDPS] expects [bitcoin] to be a reasonable payment if the amount I have to pay today can be so different from the amount I pay tomorrow,” says Steve MacIntosh ’22, who claims his success in cryptocurrency trading as a major factor in his recent acceptance into Stanford’s Class of 2022.
“There are definitely some rough edges to be worked out, but I’m confident that bitcoin’s value will stabilize as people start to accept bitcoin transactions as par of the course,” Lu said. “If we don’t act to bring bitcoin into the mainstream now then we have some explaining to do to the 4.3 percent who worked so hard to get admitted here.”
Larson expressed his view that consequences for those who break the law are now not merely punitive; they are also educational.
“The shift to bitcoin means students who run a stop sign are still punished, but they’re also rewarded with the opportunity to become more familiar with bitcoin transactions,” Larson said. “If you don’t even use bitcoin, how can you have the swagger to disregard traffic laws?”
As cryptocurrency trends gain larger followings, an increasing number of businesses and institutions are beginning to accept cryptocurrency payments. Though the planned policy change will only be accepting bitcoin, Larson says that the SUDPS is looking to expand its policies to eventually incorporate a wider range of the cryptocurrencies currently available on the market, specifically animal-themed ones including Cryptokitties and Dogecoin.
“The cryptocurrency boom is something that we definitely want to cash in on,” Larson said.
Contact Sean Chen at kxsean ‘at’ stanford.edu.
Editor’s note: This article was published for April Fool’s Day and is completely fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.