As New York City's mayor-elect Eric Adams preps for the beginning of his term, early statements from his office indicate he intends to take a business and tech-friendly approach.
Cointelegraph reported that following his November 2 election victory, Adams issued a series of crypto-friendly statements, including a pledge to take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin although this may be unlikely according to other media reports.
At a business conference in Brooklyn on November 17, the mayor-elect said, "We’re going to turn New York City into a laboratory," according to the New York Daily News.
Gary DeWaal, special counsel and Financial Markets and Regulation chair, told Cointelegraph and the Daily News in recent interviews that a top city official who is supportive of cryptocurrency is a welcome development, especially in New York, which is considered a particularly challenging US jurisdiction when it comes to digital assets.
The main issue is New York's BitLicense, which requires entities conducting crypto-related business to be licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
While the licensing aim is to protect consumers, Cointelegraph reports the BitLicense process can be onerous.
In addition, the New York State Attorney General has increased scrutiny of digital-asset businesses.
"The issuance by the New York Attorney General of its September 2018 Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative report that identified by name-specific crypto platforms and their adherence to certain best or alleged problematic practices — after certain relevant information was volunteered by the platforms — was not helpful in promoting New York as a blockchain-technology friendly locale," Gary told Cointelegraph.
Gary added that this naming and shaming approach is very different than "eradicating bad apples through due process of law."
So what can the NYC mayor do about BitLicense issues?
Gary says not much without action from the New York State Department of Financial Services and the state legislature.
"He'll certainly have a vocal ability to try to influence legislators," Gary told the Daily News. "But he can't change the regulatory environment around crypto."
"Experts weigh in on Eric Adams' Bitcoin plans for NYC," New York Daily News, November 21, 2021
"What can Eric Adams do? The limits of turning New York City into a crypto hub," Cointelegraph, November 15, 2021