We voiced support for the opportunity to examine Bitcoin and its potential benefits to New York state in greater depth through a newly-established task force.

March 30, 2022

Memorandum in Support of A.9275 (Vanel) / S.8343 (SANDERS) 

The Bitcoin Today Coalition submits this memorandum in support of A.9275/S.8343 which, if enacted, would establish the New York State Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Study Task Force.  

This legislation provides a clear path for the state to identify the consumer, environmental, energy, financial, and workforce impacts that emerging cryptocurrency technologies bring to New York. It would provide clarity and transparency to these next-generation technologies and the financial inclusion they enable for everyday New Yorkers. Additionally, it would allow the Task Force to determine real answers to policymaker concerns by providing legislative and regulatory recommendations with the input of legislative appointees. In short, the Task Force helps New York objectively and scientifically focus on the signal and not the noise of this complex matter.  

Bitcoin is the most well-known application of blockchain technology. It is the largest and most secure computer network in the world, operating without interruptions or corruptions since 2009 with no single owner or point of failure. Bitcoin’s network allows anyone to send and receive value just by connecting to the internet. While the effectiveness and security of the Bitcoin network is not being questioned, its impact on state policies and priorities is under deep scrutiny and so a statutory mandate is a must. New York State is known for its deliberate approach on important issues and therefore residents deserve the benefit of diligent study to determine the best course of regulatory action. 

Emerging technologies are complicated and difficult to value, especially when based on transformative potential. For example, few understood the revolutionary nature of the internet when commercialized in the 1990s. It was only through studying the impacts of nascent internet technologies and their commercial applications that the US determined proper regulatory policy. With political patience, diligence, and forward-thinking, the US became the world’s foremost tech innovator and exporter. We believe this bill will give policymakers the time to understand and harness this new technology in a way that benefits New Yorkers, as crypto mining technologies have been proven in other states to enhance electric grid capacity, expand the profitability and growth of renewable energy companies, create future-oriented jobs, and enhance financial inclusion for society’s most underserved communities. 

The fact is that many questions about blockchain technology remain due to the rapid pace of technological innovation, such as those relating to energy usage and equal opportunity for businesses to ensure the government is not picking winners and losers. While it may be quicker and more convenient to draw hasty conclusions, there’s a risk of being shortsighted and causing an irreversible exodus of New York talent and entrepreneur pools. The industry as a whole needs to be analyzed by the best and brightest minds, including the experts at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Financial Services, Economic Development Districts, academia, industry, and grassroots environmental organizations. This legislation not only calls for a study, but mandates results in the form of specific and justifiable recommendations.  

Accordingly, we support New York being the first state to mandate a deep and multifaceted analysis of blockchain technology, without having any predetermined outcome in mind. By embracing the facts and assessing them as they become available, we can be assured that policymakers and regulators have the best and fullest arsenal of information at their disposal.