In an initiative to embrace cryptocurrencies, Northwest Arkansas is offering $10,000 in Bitcoin to tech professionals and other entrepreneurs looking to relocate to the region. 

"Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, and we're now seeing more explosive growth in our tech sector," Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council said, in a statement. 

"This expanded incentive offer — Bitcoin and a Bike — not only embraces the growing trend toward the use of cryptocurrency as a payment option by employers but also helps increase our pipeline of talent to benefit tech employers, startups, cities, local businesses and the region overall," he added. 

The move comes as the latest instalment of Northwest Arkansas Council's LifeWorks Here initiative, launched in late 2020. Remote tech professionals can apply for either $10,000 in cash or Bitcoin and they will also receive a street or mountain bicycle to explore the outdoors, provided they manage to shift there within six months. 

Northwest Arkansas has over 10,000 job openings and a shortage of talent to fill available STEAM [science, technology, engineering, art or math] jobs.

The city has partnered with the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas to provide technical expertise and counsel related to specific needs for blockchain-related offerings.

The initiative by Northwest Arkansas is a testament to the wider recognition of cryptocurrencies. While several financial institutions and businesses are already geared towards accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment options, now cities too are adopting digital tokens as part of their culture. 

CityCoins is a crypto-based project that allows people to invest in their city by mining and buying city tokens. Miami became the first city to have its own coin in August last year. New York City will follow by introducing NYC Coin this year. 

The price of bitcoin hit record highs in 2021, but it slid below $40,000 in January 2022 The price of bitcoin hit record highs in 2021, but it slid below $40,000 in January 2022 Photo: AFP / Ozan KOSE