New York City Aims to Establish Itself as a Blockchain Technology Hub

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 4 min read
New York City Aims to Establish Itself as a Blockchain Technology Hub
New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President James Patchett. Photo: New York City Economic Development Corporation

With blockchain technology opening the gateways for improvements across multiple sectors, New York sees its ability to streamline the process improving various services using the blockchain.

The ‘Blockchain Week NYC‘ has kicked-off yesterday on Monday, May 14, with a lot of blockchain events have been scheduled to take place in the global financial capital of New York. New York city has successfully managed to garner all the attention from the tech giants working in the blockchain space, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is seen taking crucial initiatives that could help the city to spearhead establishing itself as the blockchain technology hub.

In order to bring the industry stakeholders together and to promote the public awareness, the city has floated an initiative of developing a “Blockchain Center”. However, one area where there is a big focus from the big industry players is the clarity in the regulatory air surrounding the crypto space.

The NYCEDC is also seen working for several blockchain solutions for the city’s administrative services and development. For example, over the last weekend, NYCEDC in collaboration with non-profit organization GrowNYC and CoinDesk has sponsored a hackathon at TimeSquare where developers were invited to work on innovative new ways in order to improve the efficiency and operations of the food supply for farmer markets, using the blockchain technology.

Moreover, ahead this year, the NYCEDC will be conducting a competition for generating new innovative ideas with blockchain implementation that enhances the services of the city’s municipal corporation. NYCEDC expects the blockchain competition to launch in late 2018.

 According to NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett, there’s no city in the world that’s better positioned to lead the way in blockchain, adding:

“We’re a global leader in finance, real estate, media, and tech – all industries seeing incredible innovation from this new technology. The City is putting a big focus into blockchain to find out how we can grow the industry and make sure it’s creating great opportunities for New Yorkers.”

Kevin Worth, CEO of New York-based CoinDesk, noted:

“We’re excited that we get to kickoff our Consensus conference with this news, and are pleased to be partnering with the NYCEDC on the first Blockchain industry job fair as well as supporting their efforts to make NYC the next great hub of innovation.”

For all the participants of the contest, NYCEDC will be issuing a request for proposals (RFP).

Vice President of the NYCEDC – Karen Bhatia – said that the major focus for potential blockchain applications will be along the fields of media, finance, healthcare and real estate. In a word with CoinDesk, Bhatia stated that they’ve been looking into blockchain for probably close to a year now. Adding that they saw an opportunity to be at the forefront of experimentation in blockchain as sustaining more of a foothold.

For the establishment of the Blockchain Center, the NYCEDC will be getting an initial funding of $100,000 in the first year which will include pilot testing of blockchain solutions across the sectors and understand the improvements going forward. Bhatia said that private players will be sourcing the additional funding as per the requirement. She also admitted that funding is not really the biggest issue when it comes to the blockchain.

The Blockchain Center will be having a full-time staff while NYCEDC is still said to be exploring other possibilities at the moment. Bhatia stated:

“The goal of this is to be a community center where people can walk in and learn more about what blockchain is, both the public as well as people who are working on new ventures and want some sort of a roadmap for how they should proceed.”

In his turn, Council Member Peter Koo, Chair of the Committee on Technology, noted:

“The BigApps Blockchain competition and the Blockchain Resource Center are great opportunities for NYC’s tech talent to explore the economic potential and job opportunities associated with this emerging technology. Thank you to the EDC and all our partners for working to open the door to new resources for NYC’s tech community to continue to innovate.”

Apart from other things, the center will also hold important discussions between the big players of the industry with one of their goals is to get regulators and entrepreneurs on the same platform. In this regard Bhatia assured that they will “sit down and have a real discussion about how these regulations are affecting innovation and entrepreneurship in New York City.”

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