The city of New York remains committed to the future development of blockchain technology despite the crypto market’s stark downturn in 2018. Yesterday, the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) unveiled its 4,000-square-foot Blockchain Center, reiterating its belief in the long-term benefits of this technology.
NYC in it for the long haul
The establishment of the new Blockchain Center comes at a time when the industry is still recovering from a tumultuous 2018. The crypto market has been caught in a fairly persistent downturn since the beginning of last year, with major cryptocurrencies losing more than 80 percent of their value over the course of the past 12 months.
During an interview with Bloomberg, Ana Arino – chief strategy officer at the EDC – stated that the non-profit corporation is “playing the long game.” She explained, “it’s a nascent technology, so there’s bound to be uncertainty around this evolution from year to year. While we don’t know what the future holds, we want to make sure we have a seat at the table shaping it.”
Located in downtown Manhattan’s Flatiron District, the EDC’s new Blockchain Center is part of a partnership with affiliates of venture-capital fund FuturePerfect Ventures and the Global Blockchain Business Council. In light of this latest development, the city may begin testing the use of blockchain technology in the later half of 2019.
The center is set to offer coding classes and lectures as part of a wider bid to increase awareness and encourage the adoption of both blockchain technology as well as cryptocurrencies.
While the city of New York supported the center with an initial 100,000 USD investment, the EDC aims to source future funds through membership fees and the addition of new corporate partners (which already include Microsoft and IBM).
Jalak Jobanputra, managing partner at FuturePerfect Ventures, stated during a phone interview that the center aims to serve as “neutral spot, there’s no one platform or company that has undue influence over programming. What we want entrepreneurs to have is a choice.”
The EDC is confident about the future prospects of blockchain technology. Last year, New York’s blockchain startups raised over 500 million USD in venture capital funding, a 500 percent increase from the previous year. Some of the industry’s largest employers are drastically increasing their presence within the city, with companies like IBM, R3 and Coinbase Inc. continuing to expand their NYC employee base. In 2018, New York saw over 2,200 new blockchain-related jobs, 80 percent more than in 2017.