The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced on Monday several initiatives that pursue ambitions of becoming a blockchain technology hub.

In time for NY Blockchain Week

With Blockchain Week now underway in New York, city leaders have announced details of their plans for the municipality. The most significant is the development of what is being called a Blockchain Center. This would be purpose-built to educate and raise awareness of the technology, while also providing a space for industry stakeholders to convene.

New York Sate’s BitLicense regulations have received much criticism on the grounds of contributing to a hostile policy stance that has been driving away startups. Should the center be assembled as planned, it would promote a positive regulatory environment for the state, addressing the issues caused by the BitLicense regulations.

In another part of the blockchain initiative, NYCEDC co-sponsored a hackathon in Times Square over the weekend. Participants competed to find blockchain-based solutions for tracking food supplies for farmers markets, similar to the trending real-world use of blockchain in the food supply chain.

The proposal from city leaders also presented plans to launch a competition towards the end of the year, with candidates supplying their own innovations regarding the use of blockchain technology within New York’s service sectors.

The NYCEDC is also a co-sponsor of New York Blockchain Week, alongside cryptocurrency news outlet CoinDesk. The events offered around the city include the Consensus Conference, with lectures held by prominent industry figures, and a free job fair on Wednesday at the Hilton, Midtown.

NYCEDC VP Karen Bhatia spoke out on her ambitions for the city, and the potential industries blockchain could prove a beneficiary of. “We saw an opportunity to be at the forefront of experimentation in blockchain as sustaining more of a foothold,” she said.

Addressing the issue of regulations holding back the development of the blockchain industry in the city, Bhatia anticipated several heated debates in the forthcoming week. As she sees it, this is an opportunity to ‘‘sit down and have a real discussion about how these regulations are affecting innovation and entrepreneurship in New York City“.

 

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