Blockchain and cryptocurrency could prove useful for local New York businesses and transform local economies, Assemblyman Ron Kim of the state of New York tells Dan Patterson of TechRepublic. The following is a modified transcript of the interview.
Dan Patterson: New York State Assembly member Ron Kim, thank you for joining us today. Before we start our conversation about cryptocurrency and blockchain, could you first help us understand your district and how does emerging technology affect people in your district?
Ron Kim: I represent District 40, is Queens of New York, and this is my third term in the state legislature. It is a district of about 60% of Asian-Americans. There are over 120 different languages spoken in my district alone. It's a place where I grew up with immigrants and other ethnic groups, all of my life, and it's a community that embraces the innovative technology culture that New York has to offer.
Dan Patterson: So, cryptocurrency and blockchain have been around for a long time, but in the last 18 months or so, they really exploded into public consciousness. This is a big question, but how do we set the cryptocurrency?
Ron Kim: This is an extremely difficult task to be undertaken for a governmental entity. It requires a collaborative effort by all levels of government, starting with the federal government, up to local municipalities. At the state level, I'm doing my best to put together a series of parameters that make more sense, that do not shun the entire industry, as happened in the last four years for the state of New York because, unfortunately, we took the initiative under the regulatory agency, the department of financial services, to put together a set of reg for the bit license, 44 pages of rules that do not fit the current climate of the crypto and blockchain communities that have left hundreds of companies departing from New York, and other start-up companies that refused to enter New York, to invest more dollars in blockchain development. And that's very unfortunate, and I'm doing my best to cancel it with some new rules.
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Patterson: Often, and this is easy to do, blockchain and cryptocurrency are confusing. Help us to understand how we differentiate the two when creating an appropriate policy.
Kim: You can simply divide it into two categories: the people who work there for trading, against the people who work for the blockchain technology investor. When Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent who established the guidelines and regulations for the law, the only goal structure that he and the agency examined was on the side of trading. How we make sure …
Dan Patterson: Currencies
Ron Kim: Currencies, right. How can we suppress bad trade? How can we be sure that people, investors, feel comfortable in being part of this ecosystem?
Unfortunately, there is a whole new world of … fortunately, rather, investors who are trying to develop blockchain technology, do much more than just trading, have a social impact in everything that we do, in any case from retailers to hotels, to tokenizing rooms.
It is a transformation technology that is going to hit every single sector of our world, and New York must be part of it, it must be at the forefront of the blockchain investments.
Unfortunately, because of the way the regs were written, people do not want to touch them, people do not want to get in, because they're not sure if they need to get the legal license, or if they get in without the legal license, at any time the agency can crack down on them.