We've likely all seen cities competing for talent and business opportunities. Cities and states often compete by funding economic development initiatives ranging from building accelerators, supporting housing developers, and even providing cash for people to move there.
Move to Arkansas - Get Bitcoin
The Northwest Arkansas Council is paying remote tech professionals and entrepreneurs $10,000 in bitcoin and a bicycle to move to the region, which includes Benton and Washington counties. Northwest Arkansas claims they want to embrace the trend of paying employees in cryptocurrency.
Northwest Arkansas has run this program since at least 2020, where they would pay remote professionals $10,000 and a bike for moving to the region. What's new is the option to be paid in bitcoin.
This initiative is sponsored by the Northwest Arkansas Council and at least partially funded by the Walton Family Foundation, which was founded by Sam and Helen Walton, the founders of Walmart. Walmart is also headquartered in the region.
How to Qualify - The Rules
There are a number of specific items that people who want to receive bitcoin and a bike must meet. The applicant must currently reside outside of the State of Arkansas, be 24 years old or older with 2+ years of work experience, be able to legally work in the U.S. or be a U.S. citizen, be employed full-time working remotely for a non-Arkansas company or self-employed, and can relocate to Northwest Arkansas within 6 months.
Note: Northwest Arkansas defines "remote work" as working for a company outside of the State of Arkansas.
If you qualify, then you must first apply. A review panel selected by the Northwest Arkansas Council will review all applications, interview candidates, and award incentives to the applicants they select.
If you are accepted into the program, when you sign a 1-year lease for local housing or buy a home, you then get the first half of the incentive. You receive the second half 6 months later.
Sorry couples, the incentive is limited to one per household.
Not So Fast, There Will Be Taxes
Before you get excited about riding around on a new bike with bitcoin dancing around in your head, the bitcoin gift is a taxable event. This means the amount you will actually retain is likely significantly less than $10,000, depending upon your exact tax situation.
Joining the Program
If you would like to participate in the program, you can find the application at this link. The Northwest Arkansas website has other useful tools including a cost-of-living calculator and a talent network with open roles in the area.
Cities such as Miami and now Northwest Arkansas are starting to leverage cryptocurrency as a part of their operations and economic development efforts, maybe we'll see more cities do the same?
What do you think? Would you consider moving to Northwest Arkansas for $10,000 in bitcoin.
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