- The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced it will build a physical blockchain resource center, meant to offer public education, business support, mentorship and other resources to the blockchain industry. The center can also be a hub for future regulatory discussions in the industry.
- Along with the center, NYCEDC will launch a competition in late 2018 to develop apps that can use blockchain to improve public services.
- "There’s no city in the world that’s better positioned to lead the way in blockchain,” said NYCEDC president James Patchett in a statement. "The City is putting a big focus into blockchain to find out how we can grow the industry and make sure it’s creating great opportunities for New Yorkers."
According to NYCEDC, the city’s blockchain industry received almost $200 million in funding last year, with job demand surging more than 800% since 2015. Now New York is trying to foster — and take advantage of — that boom. The new initiatives were announced as part of "Blockchain Week NYC," which also featured a hackathon where teams competed to use blockchain to track fresh food from farm supply to consumers, focused on underserved neighborhoods.
Many cities are exploring how the decentralized technology of blockchain can be integrated into smart systems and financial transactions. South Burlington, VT, for example, launched a pilot earlier this year to use blockchain to record real estate transactions. The technology cuts out financial middlemen and could be used on everything from contracts to tracking products to identity verification, but cities are still in the early stages of understanding its implications.
Bettina Warburg, co-founder and managing partner of Animal Ventures, said at a keynote speech at last year’s Smart City Expo World Congress that blockchain’s role in smart contracts represented "an important step toward a decentralized economy." Warburg said blockchain would enable an "autonomous network state,” adding "this means, we need to actually go beyond thinking about trade to thinking about how we design, make, deliver and even coordinate all of these products as they flow in our global trade."