In the year 2018, cryptocurrencies were at an all time low, with Bitcoin (BTC) having a 70% decrease in its value and other altcoins dropping 90% in value compared to when crypto was at its glory in 2017.
However, New York seems to still have faith in the market and the technology supporting it. The state recently announced the establishment of the country’s first cryptocurrency task force to study regulations on crypto and its usages. The task force also aims to depict the definition of digital currencies.
Bloomberg reported on 10 January 2019 that the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the opening of its 4,000-square-foot Blockchain Center located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.
The center will reportedly provide blockchain-related services which are created to educate the public on the technology. For example, lectures and classes will be held to enhance blockchain-related programming skills of software developers.
The organization stated that the opening of the Blockchain Center is part of a partnership with Global Blockchain Business Council, an international trade organization, and affiliates of Future Perfect Ventures, a venture capital fund based in New York.
It is surprising that the NYCEDC made the decision to open the center since the industry has not been doing well up until now. Multiple crypto firms find themselves laying off staffs or even shutting down as the market continues to decline. In addition to the one-time investment of $100,000 the state is providing, operators will reportedly be raising funds through collections of membership fees and corporate partners. Firms who are already prepared to fund the project include Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.
In a phone interview with Bloomberg, Ana Arino, chief strategy officer at the NYCEDC, stated that there will be uncertainties surrounding the evolution of blockchain as the technology is a “nascent technology”. She further elaborated that the organization wants to be part of the community “shaping” the technology in the future even though it is difficult to predict what blockchain will become as time passes. Arino said that the organization is playing the “long game” when it comes to researching the potential of blockchain and hopes to keep New York at the top of blockchain development.