This is the message put out by Reshma Patel, one of the candidates for the post of the city comptroller. According to Patel, who is a Democrat standing for election to the position, which is essentially that of the city’s chief financial officer, creative solutions will be needed to help the city grow and recover from the pandemic, and one area that needs to be investigated is the use of blockchain and crypto in this regard. She is one of 12 candidates who are running for the post, with 10 of them being Democrats.
One of her major goals is to ensure that contracts are approved efficiently to incentivize further investment in the city, along with offering startups more opportunities to invest, and diversifying how local pension funds invest their money as well to try and increase their returns. Under her plan, the city’s five retirement systems would invest up to 3% of their total funds in cryptocurrencies, while the city itself would also invest in funds and businesses with blockchain exposure to help support fintech startups, while also utilizing a blockchain-based system to streamline its contract systems. She has also stated that she wants to work with the New York Department of Financial Services to try and streamline the BitLicence, which is the license issued for virtual and digital currency activities in the city.
Patel wants to use blockchain to improve the way in which her office approves and updates procurement contracts. The comptroller’s office typically has 30 days to approve contracts, but different entities often need to give their opinion and assent for this, depending on the project, which means that it can be quite difficult for approvals to go through in this timeframe. However, using a decentralized ledger, where everyone can track changes, updates, budgets and other key information would help increase transparency and efficiency for all parties. Her own personal experience is that it is difficult to create budgets, take out loans and work for community programs due to a lack of transparency at the moment, and therefore the use of blockchain networks could make a huge difference in this regard.
This is an interesting and exciting viewpoint, as it would mean that blockchain is used much more in New York City, which, in turn, should make it an option for cities elsewhere to adopt as a system as well. Blockchain is already being used across various other sectors and industries to try and improve efficiency, with the online gambling industry being one of the best examples of this. Various online gambling operators have been adopting blockchain networks to increase their platforms’ reliability, speed and safety, and this has understandably been a very popular move with their customers. And now we can see this new type of casinos using cryptocurrencies as well, by offering players the chance to place bets on their favourite online casino games through crypto. Using crypto and blockchain in an integrated manner has completely changed the way this sector operates, and is a relevant example for other businesses and institutions to follow when trying to understand how to incorporate them into their own operations and processes.
However, in the case of New York City, it will not be easy for these proposals to be implemented, even if Patel does get elected. There would be a lot of support needed from different parts of the city and state bureaucracy, while pension fund trustees may not agree to invest in cryptocurrencies due to the volatility of those assets. Cryptocurrencies are also under the spotlight for their energy usage, and Patel has said that the city would have to continue moving towards renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels to allow crypto and blockchain to be used on a large scale in the city.