(Bloomberg) -- New York mayoral candidate Eric Adams wants to use an electronic “cyber wallet” instead of payroll checks and direct bank deposits to pay city workers and welfare recipients, the better to track how benefits are spent and to provide rewards and incentives for healthy choices, educational improvement and job training.

Such a system could help streamline services to people experiencing homelessness, Adams, a former police captain and current Brooklyn Borough President, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. Adams is favored to win the November general election against Republican Curtis Sliwa. 

Adams, 61, said the data from such transactions could be used to analyze and encourage good behavior, and could help the city pay individuals and vendors more quickly. The system would avoid bureaucratic duplication in helping individuals obtain emergency cash and other help. It would also record how individuals spend money from the city, he said. 

“If you buy healthy foods for your baby, instead of some of the bad food that you are buying for your child, we’re going to match it dollar for dollar,” Adams said. “If you take a financial literacy course, we’d give you a $1,000 incentive as your down payment. If you want to shop locally, we’re going to have a 2% discount instead of going on Amazon.”

Adams said he’s spoken with executives at tech companies, and private companies have expressed interest in helping the city set up such a program. “They’re saying ‘We want to do this for free,’” Adams said. “If you change how you pay for goods and services in New York City, you now have a product you can sell all over the globe.”



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