Since the United States’ infancy, New York, known colloquially as The Big Apple, has been the financial hub of the globe. And interestingly, with the meteoric rise of Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren, it seems like those situated in the shining metropolis want a piece of the crypto & blockchain pie.
2018’s Bear Season
2018’s bear season ravaged the crypto market. Even Bitcoin — one crypto to rule them all — tumbled, falling from an all-time high of $20,000 in late-December to low of $3,150 on December 14th, 2018. Altcoins didn’t fare much better. In fact, for the most part, non-BTC crypto assets performed worse than their de-facto grandfather.
A mass of ICO-issued tokens has posted 90% losses from their highs. NEO, widely regarded as China’s Ethereum (or a project of similar caliber), fell to as low as $5.8 — a far cry from the $180 of yesteryear. Speaking of Ether, the now third most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell to $80 from $1,440 — woops!
And across the board, charts are just as dismal, if not worse.
This downturn led the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies to fall from upwards of $830 billion at the peak of the 2017/2018 bubble to $103 billion just recently, per data compiled by Live Coin Watch.
Blockchain, Meet New York
However, all this market tumult hasn’t stopped zealots in New York from setting up an ambitious venture centered and blockchain, related technologies, and crypto — of course.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), in collaboration with venture capital group FuturePefect and the Global Blockchain Business Council, purportedly opened a so-called “Blockchain Center” on Thursday. Coupled with this move, the EDC also announced that the municipal government of New York may begin to use ledger technologies by fall of 2019.
Speaking to Bloomberg in a phone interview on the matter, Ana Arino, the chief of strategy at the non-profit entity, noted that her organization and its partners are “playing the long game.” She explained that as blockchain is “nascent,” there’s bound to be evolutionary uncertainty each and every year — likely referencing the aforementioned market movements, which shook participants to the core.
Arino noted that while she can’t be 100% sure about what the future holds, EDC wants to have a proverbial seat at the table shaping it.
This center will be located in the Flatiron District of New York, denoted by the iconic, picturesque building that is a staple on New York postcards. 54 W. 21st Street will be the exact address, with EDC and its collaborators agreeing to utilize 4,000 square feet of the building situated there. The Blockchain Center, funded in part by the city ($100,000) and by proposed membership dues and corporate partners (Microsoft is purportedly one of those), joins Quovo, Palm Drive Capital, Glamsquad, along with other preeminent tenants.
But what will the center do?
Well, this venture will “offer everything from coding classes to lunch lectures for software developers to the general public.” Although this project is likely missing a few facets, this newfangled center will likely become of utmost importance in the development of this budding industry.