Guide to New York – Cointelegraph Magazine

Guide to New York – Cointelegraph Magazine

This “Crypto Metropolis” information appears to be like at New York Metropolis’s crypto tradition, its most notable tasks and other people, its monetary infrastructure, which retailers settle for crypto, and the place you will discover blockchain training programs — and there’s even a brief historical past of the controversial regulatory regime required to function within the metropolis.


Quick details

Metropolis: New York
Nation: United States
Inhabitants: 8.8 million
Established: 1624
Language: English


New York Metropolis is a bustling metropolis within the American state of New York. Town is split into 5 separate boroughs — the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island — every with its personal distinctive geography and tradition. Whereas the state’s capital is Albany, NYC is its most generally identified metropolis and is without doubt one of the most well-known cities on this planet.

Probably the most populous metropolis in the USA, NYC is dwelling to an estimated 8.8 million folks, with a further 1 million folks touring to the town day by day for work (pre-pandemic). In 2019, the town additionally welcomed almost 70 million vacationers looking for to soak up the brilliant lights of Occasions Sq., see a Broadway musical, go to the Empire State Constructing, and revel in NYC’s eating and nightlife, among the many many different websites and sights the town gives.

New York Metropolis has been the setting for numerous main movies and tv exhibits, which provides to its attraction as a vacationer vacation spot. A few of the most well-known motion pictures filmed in NYC embody The Godfather, Ghostbusters, King Kong, Taxi Driver, West Facet Story, Goodfellas, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Saturday Evening Fever and lots of, many others. Sitcom classics Seinfeld and Associates have been set within the metropolis, and the long-running stay sketch present Saturday Evening Reside broadcasts each weekend from 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

With Wall Avenue and the New York Inventory Change situated in decrease Manhattan, the town is usually acknowledged because the monetary capital of the USA, even perhaps the world. It’s additionally the nation’s trend capital and certainly one of its main expertise, music, movie and tv hubs. House to round 3 million immigrants, NYC is extensively identified for its cultural range, with the Statue of Liberty famously inscribed with the phrases: “Give me your drained, your poor, your huddled plenty craving to breathe free.”



New York
View of New York Metropolis skyline. Supply: Pexels



Town’s standing as a sizzling location for crypto and blockchain tradition has loads to do with it being a significant junction the place finance and expertise meet, based on Michael Moro, CEO of digital asset prime brokerage Genesis: “New York Metropolis has all the time been the epicenter of the capital markets and, over time, has earned a worldwide repute for being an innovation and expertise hub.”

NYC can be a really rich metropolis. “The benefit of the town is actually Wall Avenue, proper?” says Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks — an institutional digital asset custody, switch and settlement platform. “You will have an enormous focus of people that perceive finance. You will have an enormous quantity of capital flowing in from conventional finance into crypto. All the large enterprise capitalists are based mostly in New York and are pushing into crypto.”





Crypto tradition

New York Metropolis has a protracted, well-established tradition round cryptocurrency and blockchain. Manner again on New Yr’s Eve 2013/2014, Bitcoin Middle NYC, a brick-and-mortar middle devoted to selling and educating the general public on the premier cryptocurrency, was launched by Nick Spanos — an actual property government turned Bitcoin evangelist. The middle shortly grew to become a hub for followers of the nonetheless pretty underground cryptocurrency.

Spanos tells Journal that “Bitcoin Middle NYC introduced Bitcoin from the again alleys to Wall Avenue, from one thing hidden to one thing celebrated, from one thing unknown to one thing open and clear.”

Bitcoin Middle NYC’s brick-and-mortar house. Supply: Bitcoin Middle NYC

Spanos later additionally based the Blockchain Middle, which is devoted to training on the ability of blockchain expertise. He provides that whereas Bitcoin Middle NYC has been comparatively quiet through the COVID-19 pandemic, “we’ve a brand new house and are taking a look at bringing again the favored Satoshi Sq. gatherings — with an embrace of the rising crowd of Wall Avenue blockchain specialists and new believers.”

The Huge Apple hosts plenty of main blockchain and crypto conferences, together with the annual New York Blockchain Week. Although it was in the end canceled as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, New York Blockchain Week 2020 was set to function Consensus, the Digital Asset Summit, Ethereal Summit, The Block Summit, Magical Crypto Convention, ETH NYC and Sensible Contract Summit #0. A few of the occasions went digital, and the convention was once more placed on maintain in 2021.

In-person conferences reappeared towards the tip of 2021, together with Blockworks Digital Asset Summit 2021, Mainnet 2021 and SALT, which have been held in September, and CoinGeek Convention in early October, whereas NFT.NYC 2021 is scheduled for November.

Alex Mashinsky, a New Yorker who serves as CEO of crypto borrowing and lending platform Celsius Community — which is headquartered simply throughout the river in New Jersey — tells Journal that New York actually is a crypto metropolis: “You will have cash, you’ve gotten folks, you’ve gotten tech, and you’ve got loads of clients who devour this expertise. It’s a really cosmopolitan metropolis, so you’ve gotten folks from each nation and stroll of life.” He provides, “We see loads of wealth right here. If wealthy folks need to put 1% to five% of their wealth into crypto, it’s going to occur right here.”





New York Metropolis has additionally been a part of the burgeoning nonfungible token artwork scene. In March 2021, the artist collective Superchief opened what it alleged to be the first-ever brick-and-mortar NFT art gallery, and the Postmasters gallery in decrease Manhattan has an NFT-focused division referred to as PostmastersBLOCKCHAIN. In the meantime, Beeple’s $69-million sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” in March occurred by way of the NYC department of public sale home Christie’s.

Nonetheless, some warn that NYC has been present process a “mind drain” that has seen high expertise going elsewhere, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, different cities and states have been aggressively courting the crypto group with enterprise, tax and regulatory incentives, and a few have chosen to go away,” says Moro.

Mashinsky provides, “If you take a look at how briskly Miami is transferring, they created a coin for the town. They did every kind of stuff, so we’re undoubtedly behind. We’re nearly reacting as a substitute of enacting.”

Perhaps that’s why crypto has been shaping up as an election problem. In June 2021, Eric Adams, the Democratic frontrunner for NYC’s subsequent mayor, proclaimed that he would turn the city into “the middle of Bitcoins.” In the meantime, his Republican competitor, Curtis Sliwa, has pledged to make New York “essentially the most cryptocurrency-friendly metropolis within the nation.”





Tasks and firms

Many crypto and blockchain firms have referred to as the tech and finance hub dwelling. Whereas New York State’s strict regulatory necessities could have prevented some exchanges from organising store (extra on that later), Gemini nonetheless has its headquarters in NYC, as does the decentralized change Uniswap. Blockchain.com additionally maintains its U.S. headquarters in New York Metropolis, although it just lately introduced that it intends to relocate to Miami.

A number of funding companies energetic within the crypto house are based mostly in NYC, together with New York Digital Funding Group, Galaxy Digital, Grayscale Investments, Union Sq. Ventures and Digital Foreign money Group.

Analysis agency Chainalysis is headquartered in NYC, as are infrastructure supplier Bison Trails (which was just lately acquired by Coinbase); monetary companies suppliers Fireblocks, Paxos and Paxful; digital-asset prime brokerage Genesis; NFT market OpenSea; Ethereum-based software program engineering agency ConsenSys; crypto-centric PR agency Ditto; peer-to-peer buying and selling protocol AirSwap; and media firm Cointelegraph. No less than one-half of the workforce behind NFT tokenization platform Fractional is predicated in New York Metropolis.

Genesis’ Moro, a local New Yorker, tells Cointelegraph that he has “all the time beloved the power, grit and dedication that defines New York.” He provides that Genesis has no plans to go away the town:

“Genesis was born right here. Our shoppers are based mostly right here. As an institutional prime brokerage, we predict it’s essential for us to be right here. Due to the elite and various expertise trying to enter the business, notably from the schools and Wall Avenue, our robust choice is to proceed to develop our enterprise right here.”

A number of different firms are headquartered elsewhere however have a bodily presence within the metropolis, resembling Pantera Capital, Bitwise and Horizen Labs. In the meantime, Celsius used to have an workplace within the metropolis however shuttered it when the pandemic struck. (A recent letter from the New York State Legal professional Normal’s Workplace asking for particulars concerning the enterprise could also be a consider whether or not Celsius reopens its workplace…)

Town has itself launched blockchain tasks. For instance, in January 2019, the New York Metropolis Financial Growth Company opened the NYC Blockchain Middle, a 4,000-square-foot facility that operated for one 12 months and targeted on supporting entrepreneurship and selling range and training.

New York Metropolis’s Blockchain Middle initiative. Supply: NYC Blockchain Middle/New York Metropolis Financial Growth Company

Monetary infrastructure

New York Metropolis is a notoriously troublesome place during which to commerce cryptocurrencies, as solely exchanges which were awarded a coveted BitLicense from the New York State Division of Monetary Companies are allowed to supply “digital foreign money” companies to New York-based clients. On the time of writing, solely three centralized exchanges — Coinbase, Coinbase Professional and Gemini — are accessible to New York residents. As well as, the variety of cash obtainable to commerce on these platforms is proscribed in comparison with what is accessible in different states. For New Yorkers who’re prepared to courageous the waters of decentralized exchanges, the entire high DEXs — resembling Uniswap, 1inch, PancakeSwap, SushiSwap and others — might be accessed from the town.

Town’s hustle and bustle could lead to you needing to purchase BTC on the go. Fortunately, the town that by no means sleeps has dozens of Bitcoin ATMs scattered all through the 5 boroughs — although solely a small handful of them permits you to additionally promote BTC. Town additionally has a Bitcoin Money ATM situated within the Bronx, an Ether ATM situated in downtown Manhattan, and one ATM within the Bronx that may allow you to purchase and promote Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Sprint and Zcash.

NYC residents have plenty of choices in relation to conventional banking, together with Chase Financial institution, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Financial institution of America, Capital One and extra. However in relation to utilizing the cash in a single’s checking account to buy crypto, banks have traditionally been considerably hesitant, with bank card purchases a infamous sticking level. In February 2018, crypto change Coinbase reported that clients of Chase, Financial institution of America, Citibank and Capital One have been being blocked from buying crypto by way of the change.

Nonetheless, banks appear to be easing up, and Mashinsky factors out that “August and September have been excellent months for crypto from a financial institution standpoint,” with a number of main Wall Avenue banks saying crypto companies. “Positively loads of progress this 12 months from the tier-one banks.”

New York Inventory Change constructing, situated on Wall Avenue. Supply: Pexels

The place can I spend crypto?

If you wish to spend your hard-earned cryptocurrency, most retailers nonetheless received’t settle for it. Nonetheless, New York Metropolis does have a small handful of crypto-friendly areas, based on Coinmap — though lots of them seem like now closed.

If you’re craving a chew to eat, bagel spot Forest Hills Bagels, Center Jap restaurant Shawarmania and Chinese language meals eatery Yong Sheng — all situated in Queens — settle for BTC. But when procuring is extra your factor, classic girls’s clothes retailer Marmalade in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, family-friendly attire boutique Little Hippie in Williamsburg, or mineral vendor Astro West on the Higher West Facet of Manhattan could curiosity you.

The Postmasters artwork gallery in decrease Manhattan accepts Bitcoin and Ether for any object obtainable for buy. The sale is completed as a wallet-to-wallet transaction, and digital artwork gross sales include freshly minted NFTs certifying possession. Tamas Banovich, co-director of Postmasters, tells Journal, “There may be this complete new market opening up with folks having cryptocurrency. I feel very quickly, they are going to be occupied with every kind of artwork, not simply digital and NFTs, and I need to be there early and make it obtainable.”

In the meantime, personal gymnasium The Health Workplace on the Higher East Facet of Manhattan accepts crypto, as do non-alcoholic bar Kavasutra in Manhattan’s East Village and Yeras Restaurant Sports activities Bar in Jackson Heights, Queens.


There are a number of academic and coaching applications in New York Metropolis. Graduate college students at Fordham College’s Gabelli Faculty of Enterprise within the Bronx can tackle a secondary focus in blockchain expertise. This system promises to present college students “the chance to grasp the abilities wanted to face out on this house.” Enrollees will take programs exploring the expertise itself, the position and performance of cryptocurrencies, and the enterprise and authorized issues surrounding the house. The varsity additionally hosts the Fordham Fintech Community, which connects college students with fintech companies and professionals.

New York College’s Stern Faculty of Enterprise in decrease Manhattan offers a fintech specialization that features programs resembling “Accounting and the Blockchain,” “Subjects in Cryptocurrency Investing” and “Digital Currencies, Blockchains, and the Monetary Companies Trade.” Individually, college students at NYU’s Faculty of Skilled Research can receive certificates in “different investments” and in fintech, each of which embody a course titled “Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.” These on the lookout for additional on-campus engagement can join the Blockchain Lab @ NYU scholar group.

Whereas Columbia College in higher Manhattan doesn’t have a particular crypto focus or certificates program, college students can enroll in a number of programs specializing in blockchain and its numerous implementations, supplied by Columbia’s engineering and enterprise colleges. The college additionally hosts the Columbia-IBM Middle for Blockchain and Knowledge Transparency, which is concentrated on training, analysis and innovation round blockchain and information. As well as, highschool college students can participate in a summer season college immersion program and take a three-week “Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, AI, and Past” course.

In the meantime, Hunter Faculty on Manhattan’s Higher East Facet has beforehand offered an “Intro to Blockchain” course, and Cornell College, which is upstate in Ithaca, has an MBA program by which college students can participate in an NYC-based fintech intensive consisting of 4 programs — together with “Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies” — which can be taught over seven weeks within the spring.





Regulatory controversies

New York Metropolis and crypto characterize an fascinating dichotomy. On one hand, NYC is a significant hub for finance, expertise and innovation; on the opposite, the state of New York is essentially the most extremely regulated place to do enterprise within the nation. Any group looking for to hold out “digital foreign money enterprise actions” within the state or to serve clients situated within the state is required to accumulate a license often called a “BitLicense.” The applying course of, maintained by the New York State Division of Monetary Companies, is thought to be lengthy, pricey, arduous, complicated and extremely difficult. Firms may select to use for a limited-purpose belief constitution and face even stricter rules however obtain extra advantages, resembling fiduciary powers.

When the requirement was first carried out in mid-2015, a major variety of firms that had been serving NYC residents merely stopped providing their merchandise to New Yorkers slightly than undergo the extraordinary software course of. On the time, the New York Enterprise Journal dubbed it “The Nice Bitcoin Exodus.”

Spanos tells Journal, “The NY DFS BitLicense was the dying knell for crypto innovation in the whole state. It was the final word backroom deal reduce in a smoke-filled room that allegedly protected customers however truly harmed New Yorkers and restricted their free selection.” He provides, “If you happen to should not have huge capital, you’ll not get off the bottom.”

A few of those who pulled out of the state embody exchanges Kraken, Poloniex, ShapeShift and Bitfinex; peer-to-peer market LocalBitcoins; mining companies BTC Guild, Genesis Mining and Eobot; and funds service GoCoin. Whereas Paxful stays headquartered within the metropolis, it’s within the unusual scenario of not with the ability to truly serve anybody who lives there.

Mashinsky tells Journal, “The BitLicense was not put in place to guard the buyer or shield the group. That was one thing that this or that regulator put to create a job for themselves.” He provides that the requirement additionally reduces wholesome competitors, leading to increased charges for purchasers — resembling these seen on Coinbase. “The explanation they will get away with it’s as a result of they’ve a BitLicense and others don’t.”

Nonetheless, Shaulov holds a distinct perspective, saying that the town’s agency regulation is in the end useful. “No less than there may be some stage of readability of what’s required when it comes to what it’s wish to function within the metropolis,” he tells Journal, including, “In the long run, the place regulation will exist in every single place, readability — even when it’s considerably unclear — is finest.”

“The inconvenient actuality is that you may’t escape regulation perpetually. In some unspecified time in the future, it’s good to take care of it.”

In 2019, the state initiated a brand new crackdown, this time on Bitfinex and Tether. It alleged that the sister firms lied concerning the backing of USDT and deliberately coated up huge monetary losses. In February 2021, New York Legal professional Normal Letitia James introduced that the 2 firms — neither of which has a BitLicense — have been banned from all trading activity involving New Yorkers, would pay a advantageous, and would undergo necessary reporting necessities. Every week later, James issued a warning to the industry: “You both play by the foundations or we are going to shut you down.”

As well as, cryptocurrencies have to be authorised by the state earlier than they are often listed or utilized in New York. The Division of Monetary Companies maintains a “Greenlist” of preapproved belongings, which features a handful of main cash, resembling Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin and Binance USD. Crypto belongings not included on the Greenlist have to be individually licensed.

These controversial regulatory choices trickle all the way down to the typical investor as nicely, because the alternatives to purchase, promote and commerce cryptocurrencies in New York Metropolis are slightly restricted. It’s no surprise that Reddit is filled with posts asking questions like “Why is it so arduous to purchase cryptocurrency in New York state?” and “Why does New York suck a lot ass for crypto traders?”

Notable figures

New York Metropolis is dwelling to a variety of fascinating characters, together with many crypto pioneers, entrepreneurs and advocates. A few of its extra notable figures embody:

Hayden Adams, creator of Uniswap and CEO of Uniswap Labs; Charles Cascarilla, co-founder and CEO of Paxos; Devin Finzer, co-founder and CEO of OpenSea; Michael Gronager, CEO of Chainalysis; Robert Gutmann, co-founder and CEO of NYDIG; Letitia James, lawyer common of the State of New York; Joe Lallouz, co-founder and CEO of Bison Trails; Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and co-founder and CEO of ConsenSys; Alex Mashinsky, founder and CEO of Celsius Community; Michael Moro, CEO of Genesis; Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital; Anthony Pompliano, outstanding investor; Michael Shaulov, co-founder and CEO of Fireblocks; Laura Shin, host of crypto-centric podcasts Unchained and Unconfirmed; Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of Digital Foreign money Group; Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale Investments; Nick Spanos, founding father of Bitcoin Middle NYC and the Blockchain Middle; Ross Stevens, founder and government chairman of NYDIG; Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder and president of Gemini; Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder and CEO of Gemini; Andrew Yang, former presidential candidate and cryptocurrency advocate; and Ray Youssef, co-founder and CEO of Paxful.

Cointelegraph workforce members and contributors based mostly in New York Metropolis: Jay Cassano, Jonathan DeYoung and Gordon Meyer.

Ideas for additions to this information are welcome. Please electronic mail: j.deyoung@cointelegraph.com






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