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The Big Apple to embrace crypto with mayor Adams

New York city has gotten itself a bullish bitcoin mayor, Erik Adams.

Although November 3rd was an election day in the United States, it wasn’t considered a major election as the Presidency and congressional seats were not up for grabs. But it was a preview for what is to come for the Big Apple and other major cities across the U.S as the country further accelerates its adoption of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies.  

The mayor-elect won by a landslide, defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa, to become the city’s second African American mayor. In his campaign, he focused on how he would bring down the crime rate and make the U.S.’s most populous state into a jurisdiction that embraces and fosters the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

Adams tweeted not long after his victory on how excited he was to begin working on transforming New York into a hub for cryptocurrencies. He wrote, “In New York, we always go big, so I’m going to take my first THREE paychecks in Bitcoin when I become mayor. NYC is going to be the centre of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!”


Adams will make New York a crypto hub

I believe that Adams will be great for New York’s cryptocurrency industry, as he has said that he wants to explore the possibility of launching an NYC Coin like the MiamiCoin. Miami’s mayor Francis X. Suarez was the first to launch a CityCoin cryptocurrency. Adams told Bloomberg Radio after his election that he would engage in “friendly competition” with the Miami Republican. 

This is a good thing. The competition between New York and Miami will help spur innovation and new projects across the cryptocurrency industry, as they both attempt to attract the best talent, more capital and of course, to adopt friendlier regulations.

Mayor elect Adams, who will take over as New York’s mayor from Bill de Blasio in January 2022, has made it clear that he wants to ensure that there’s space in New York for jobs related to cryptocurrency to grow “because we can’t have a one-sided city where certain groups and areas are doing well.”

When asked how he will turn New York into a fintech, crypto and technology hub, he said he will do it “By doing what I have been doing.” I believe in Adams because his track record is solid. In Brooklyn, where Adams has been borough president, there has been a 356% increase in technology startups in the last ten years. In the last three months, he has worked with technology leaders, local and international, to move their operations to Brooklyn.

There is a lot to love about seeing a crypto-friendly mayor elect stepping into power in America’s greatest financial hub. The U.S. and the world’s traditional finance capital should be embracing the economic opportunity that this new area of finance represents. What is even better is that the bi-partisan support across both the democrats and republicans are based on financial accessibility and economic empowerment.


New York will do a 180 degree turn on crypto

Adams' victory is no doubt great for New York’s cryptocurrency industry, but it wasn’t long ago when New York’s authorities were not as open to the growing industry.

This all started in 2014 when the New York State Department of Financial Services issued BitLicense. The BitLicense is required for crypto companies to manage, buy and sell crypto to New York residents. It is difficult to acquire. And that was clear right when the regulation was being rolled out.  

I remember in August 2015, Jesse Powell, founder and CEO of Kraken, wrote a blog post called “Farewell New York to express his disappointment in New York’s strict crypto regulations and how it has forced Kraken to stop servicing New Yorkers.

Powell wrote, “Today Kraken discontinues service to New York residents. Regrettably, the abominable BitLicense has awakened. It is a creature so foul, so cruel that not even Kraken possesses the courage or strength to face its nasty, big, pointy teeth.  It’s at least a 40-man, bro.” Powell then list additional “attributes, attacks and debuffs” that include:

  1. no guarantee of support from New York banks

  2. no guarantee of enforcement against unlicensed competitors

  3. reduced consumer protection

  4. unjustifiable burden and restrictions on global operations

  5. unjustifiable bifurcation of the service for New York alone

  6. unjustifiable expense for the opportunity to compete for the small market

  7. no exemption from traditional money transmission licensing

  8. no onramp for small businesses

  9. dubious value to the consumer

He added, “If the BitLicense becomes significantly nerfed at some point in the future, we may attempt a rescue. Until then, you’re on your own. Good luck.” Although BitLicense has not been nerfed, Adams’ victory brings hope in making it easier for cryptocurrency companies to set up in New York and operate under a clear and fair regulatory regime.


More U.S. cities are embracing crypto

It is exciting that more American cities are becoming pro-crypto, with Miami leading the way, and New York will likely follow them in becoming a major regional crypto hub in the country.

But there are other states across the U.S. that are also embracing crypto and becoming more friendly with the industry. In the Midwest, Star Financial Bank recently said that it has become the first bank in the state of Indiana to offer bitcoin services to customers and the Chicago Board Options Exchange has agreed to buy ErisX, a crypto derivatives and spot market company.

If New York is a model of what is to come across the U.S., then we have plenty to be excited about for the future.  





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Raymond Hsu

Raymond Hsu

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22 Oct 2021



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