New York City Moves to Become Blockchain Technology Hub

The city’s Economic Development Corporation plans to launch a resource center and a contest for blockchain apps

by Deyana Laguna
15 May • 2.5 min
In News

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) revealed on Monday ambitions to position the Big Apple as the world’s leading blockchain technology hub.

The NYCEDC’s “two initial efforts” include the launch of a blockchain resource center and a contest for the best ways to use the technology in the public sector.

The NYC Blockchain Resource Center will “serve the needs of the fast-growing industry.” It will host the community, build public awareness for the technology, connect entrepreneurs alike and bring both industry and government players together for conversations about regulation.

NYSEDC further revealed that the blockchain competition is set to begin later this year, aiming to “catalyze blockchain innovation and source government use-cases for the technology”. Mirroring the NYC’s BigApps contest model, the city on Monday released a request for proposals (RFP) for organizations that can run in the competition.

NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said that there is “no city in the world that’s better positioned to lead the way in blockchain.” He added: “We’re a global leader in finance, real estate, media, and tech – all industries seeing incredible innovation from this new technology. 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.”

Blockchain is a growing sector in New York City. According to Burning Glass data, cited by the NYSEDC, job postings in the sector increased by more than 800% between 2015 and 2017. Last year alone, city-based blockchain businesses attracted over USD 199 million in venture capital investments.

Last week, two US House Subcommittees held a hearing on how blockchain can be used in supply chain management, concluding that the technology has a wide variety of applications, notwithstanding the lack of industry-wide standards.

The blockchain technology has garnered interest from a number of major corporates around the world. Last week, the world’s second largest software company Oracle announced it would be offering blockchain products, including those suited for supply chain management for pharmaceutical companies. Last month, electronics giant Samsung reported it considers using blockchain for managing its global supply chain.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is meanwhile trialing a blockchain platform for supply chain tracking in a bid to prevent food fraud. Another big-name tech company looking to deploy the technology is IBM, which last month unveiled an initiative with several notable firms from the jewelry industry focused on improving transparency in supply chains for the precious stones market.