It’s critical to keep lines of communication open – even when we don’t agree

The Chamber of Digital Commerce hosted Blockchain Education Day at the New York State Capitol in Albany on January 17, 2023. As the world’s largest blockchain trade association, our mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain technology. For the first time in New York, our Blockchain Education Day provided our members, that include the world’s leading innovators, investors, operators and digital asset mining companies, an up-close opportunity to promote the industry through education and advocacy in direct coordination with state policymakers, regulatory agencies, and industry advocates.  

With lawmakers back in Albany for the 2023 Legislative Session, the Chamber recognized that now is the time to engage the New York State Legislature and stakeholders to highlight the benefits of blockchain technology and digital assets. The goal was to help establish a responsible, pro-growth environment for digital assets and blockchain technology in the state of New York. 

Why, New York?

New York has implemented several laws and regulations at odds with the industry over the years. Most recently, Governor Kathy Hochul approved a two-year moratorium on digital asset mining operations that use proof-of-work (PoW) authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions (A.7389-C (Kelles)/S. 6486-D (Parker)). Governor Hochul has also vetoed study legislation (A.9275 (Vanel)/ S.8343 (Sanders)) that would examine the impacts of blockchain technology and the industry as a whole, in New York. To date, no other industry has been singled out the way digital assets have in New York. That’s why we invited our members who have operations in the state to attend Blockchain Education Day. 

Key takeaways from these conversations:

Include funding for a cryptocurrency and blockchain task force in the state’s budget. Policymakers should understand the technology before driving the blockchain industry out of New York.  We support this approach led by Assembly Member Vanel and Senator Sanders, and urge lawmakers to include funding for this study in this year’s budget. Governor Hochul, citing the cost of the task force, recently vetoed legislation (A9275 / S8343) that would establish a cryptocurrency and blockchain task force to study the industry’s impacts. Blockchain technologies may offer solutions to a host of challenges facing the state; an investment in fully understanding the technologies is important. 

Invest in the digital asset industry, and promote sustainable energy job growth and development. The industry will bring high paying jobs and technology training in areas where it is needed most and increase union jobs.

Include the Bitcoin mining industry’s sustainable energy mix in Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA) standards. The industry’s sustainable energy mix is 58.4%, making it the most sustainable industry globally and leading all industries in compliance with CLCPA.

Digital assets technologies are an emerging, global financial industry. Digital assets have been adopted by over 100 million individuals worldwide and proof-of-work mining is the foundation of this ecosystem. Digital assets are creating an opportunity for millions of people in less fortunate economic circumstances to access the financial system by storing their savings in a medium that is independent of rapidly increasing inflation, banks fees, and long-standing inequities in our banking system.

It’s crucial that New York remains a leader in global financial services, rather than hindering an industry that is important to its future. Working together, the blockchain and digital asset industries and New York State can set the standard for expanding sustainable, ethical, business growth.