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Another Voice: New York can become the sustainable crypto capital | Opinion

For generations, the major stock exchanges, banks and investment firms of Manhattan have made New York the world’s undisputed capital of finance. Now, a new wave of cryptocurrency innovators are investing in upstate regions that have long missed out on the tech-driven economy. To ensure that New York remains the financial capital of the world in the crypto age and to support future job growth across the state, we need to do our due diligence and find commonsense policies that promote innovation while mitigating risks.

That’s why it’s vital that Governor Hochul sign the recently passed bill A.9275/S.8343 – “The New York State Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Study Act.” The bill would require the government to set up an inclusive task force that includes environmentalists, the community, the finance industry, regulators and academics to help guide the state on the best policy approach to the digital asset economy.

The crypto industry has brought thousands of good-paying jobs to the state, capturing nearly one fifth of the national total of crypto jobs. In this time of economic uncertainty, we must foster further job growth to bring prosperity and opportunity to historically underprivileged communities and upstate regions. A.9275/S.8343 was written in recognition that while crypto is already making huge inroads in our digital society and economy, the technology is still relatively new and deeply misunderstood. That’s why the bill doesn’t call for any new regulations or specific policies just yet. Instead, it would create a task force whose mission is to holistically study crypto’s impact on our state’s economy and environment, collect and respect the views of all stakeholders involved and then make policy recommendations that can make our state better for all.

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By bringing all voices to the table, this approach would enable the crypto industry to continue investing in communities and creating jobs, help close the digital divide, and promote financial and economic inclusion while also helping us reach our shared goals of carbon neutrality and environmental stewardship.

This is an important point, because there are a few loud voices who believe that crypto’s growth must inevitably come at the expense of our environment. For instance, some lawmakers hope to pass a two-year moratorium on certain crypto mining operations while a narrow study is commissioned to review the impacts of crypto on the environment. But this would only kill crypto jobs in rural communities and drive potential job-creators away. We should absolutely continue studying crypto’s impacts, but we should do so without giving hundreds of New York workers pink slips.

If New York takes the proper approach to crypto, much as earlier state visionaries did with traditional finance, our state will remain the world’s financial leader, and we would do so in a way that’s more equitable, sustainable, and beneficial for all.

Assemblyman Clyde Vanel represents District 33 and Kristin Smith is executive director of the Blockchain Association.

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