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Cointelegraph magazine presents a guide to the most interesting and relevant events happening this week in NYC, including Bitcoin and blockchain meetups. This is part one of three articles on what’s new in New York for crypto enthusiasts.

The “bitcoin magazine” is a publication that provides news and analysis on the cryptocurrency. It has been around for a while now, and it is one of the best sources to learn about bitcoin.

New York City’s crypto culture, its most notable projects and people, its financial infrastructure, which retailers accept crypto, and where you can find blockchain education courses are all covered in this “Crypto City” guide, which also includes a brief history of the city’s controversial regulatory regime.


Quick facts

New York is the name of the city. United States of America 8.8 million people live here. 1624 is the year the company was founded. English is the language of choice.


New York City is the capital of the United States’ state of New York. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island are the five boroughs that make up New York City, each having its own distinct terrain and culture. While Albany is the state capital, New York Metropolis is the state’s most well-known city and one of the world’s most renowned cities.

NYC is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated 8.8 million residents and an extra 1 million people who commute to work every day (pre-pandemic). In 2019, approximately 70 million visitors visited the city to view the brilliant lights of Times Square, attend a Broadway production, see the Empire State Building, and experience the city’s eating and nightlife, among the many other sights and attractions.

New York City has been featured in several famous films and television series, adding to its appeal as a tourist destination. The Godfather, Ghostbusters, King Kong, Taxi Driver, West Side Story, Goodfellas, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Saturday Night Fever, and many more were all shot in New York City. The city was featured in the sitcoms Seinfeld and Friends, and Saturday Night Live, a long-running live sketch program, broadcasts every weekend from 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Lower Manhattan is often regarded as the financial center of the United States, if not the globe, thanks to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. It’s also the country’s fashion capital, as well as a key center for technology, music, cinema, and television. With over 3 million immigrants, New York City is famed for its cultural variety, with the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” written on the Statue of Liberty.



The skyline of New York City. Pexels is the source of this image.



According to Michael Moro, CEO of digital asset prime brokerage Genesis, the city’s prominence as a hotspot for crypto and blockchain culture has a lot to do with it being a significant intersection where finance and technology meet: “New York City has traditionally been the financial markets’ centerpiece, and it has established a worldwide reputation as an innovation and technology powerhouse throughout time.”

New York City is also an affluent city. Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks, an institutional digital asset storage, transfer, and settlement platform, says, “The benefit of the city is actually Wall Street, right?” “You have a sizable group of individuals who are well-versed in money. You’ve got a lot of money going into crypto from conventional finance. New York is home to all of the major venture capitalists that are investing in cryptocurrency.”





Culture of cryptography

Cryptocurrency and blockchain have a long and well-established culture in New York City. Nick Spanos, a real estate businessman turned Bitcoin advocate, created Bitcoin Institution NYC on New Year’s Eve 2013/2014, a brick-and-mortar center committed to promoting and educating the public on the primary cryptocurrency. The facility immediately became a gathering place for supporters of the still-underground cryptocurrency.

“Bitcoin Center NYC pushed Bitcoin from the back alleys to Wall Street, from something hidden to something praised, from something unknown to something open and transparent,” Spanos said in a statement to Magazine.

1635432426_261_Guide-to-New-York-%E2%80%93-Cointelegraph-MagazineThe physical location of the Bitcoin Center in New York City. Bitcoin Center NYC is the source of this information.

Spanos went on to start the Blockchain Center, a non-profit organization committed to educating people about the benefits of blockchain technology. “We have a new facility and are looking at bringing back the popular Satoshi Square events — with an embracing of the rising throng of Wall Street blockchain professionals and new believers,” he says, adding that although Bitcoin Center NYC was rather quiet during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The annual New York Blockchain Week is one of several prominent blockchain and crypto conferences held in the Big Apple. New York Blockchain Week 2020 was supposed to include Consensus, the Digital Asset Summit, Ethereal Summit, The Block Summit, Magical Crypto Conference, ETH NYC, and Smart Contract Summit #0, however it was canceled owing to the COVID-19 epidemic. Some of the proceedings were televised, and the conference was postponed until 2021.

Blockworks Digital Asset Summit 2021, Mainnet 2021, and SALT, held in September, CoinGeek Conference in early October, and NFT.NYC 2021, slated for November, were among the first in-person conferences in 2021.

“You have money, you have people, you have tech, and you have a lot of clients that consume this technology,” says Alex Mashinsky, the CEO of crypto borrowing and lending platform Celsius Network, which is situated just over the river in New Jersey. It’s a really international city, so you’ll see people from all over the world.” “We see a lot of riches here,” he continues. It will happen here if wealthy individuals wish to invest 1% to 5% of their money in cryptocurrency.”



We’re taking a trip to the moon. twitter.com/66MvxpWW4w

October 19, 2021 — Alex Mashinsky (@Mashinsky)



The developing nonfungible token art community has also included New York City. Superchief, an artist collective, established the first-ever brick-and-mortar NFT art gallery in March 2021, while the Postmasters gallery in lower Manhattan has an NFT-focused subsidiary named PostmastersBLOCKCHAIN. Meanwhile, Beeple’s $69 million sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” in March was handled by Christie’s in New York.

However, others claim that New York City has been experiencing a “brain drain,” with elite intellect fleeing the city, particularly during the COVID-19 epidemic.

“During the epidemic, other cities and states courted the crypto community aggressively with commercial, tax, and regulatory benefits, and some opted to leave,” adds Moro.

“When you look at how rapidly Miami is changing, they developed a currency for the city,” Mashinsky continues. They accomplished a lot of different things, so we’re obviously behind. Instead of acting, we’re virtually reacting.”

Perhaps this is why cryptocurrency is becoming a campaign topic. Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City, said in June 2021 that he would make the city “the hub of Bitcoins.” Meanwhile, Curtis Sliwa, his Republican opponent, has promised to make New York “the most cryptocurrency-friendly city in the country.”





Projects and businesses

The IT and financial powerhouse is home to a slew of crypto and blockchain startups. While New York State’s stringent regulatory requirements may have prohibited some exchanges from establishing themselves (more on that later), Gemini and the decentralized exchange Uniswap both have offices in the city. Blockchain.com’s U.S. headquarters are also in New York City, however the company recently revealed plans to move to Miami.

New York Digital Investment Group, Galaxy Digital, Grayscale Investments, Union Square Ventures, and Digital Currency Group are among the crypto investment businesses headquartered in the city.

Infrastructure provider Bison Trails (which was recently acquired by Coinbase), financial services providers Fireblocks, Paxos, and Paxful, digital-asset prime brokerage Genesis, NFT marketplace OpenSea, Ethereum-based software engineering firm ConsenSys, crypto-centric PR firm Ditto, peer-to-peer trading protocol AirSwap, and media company Cointelegraph are all based in New York City. New York City is home to at least half of the team behind Fractional, an NFT tokenization platform.

Moro, a New York native, tells Cointelegraph that he has “always appreciated the energy, grit, and tenacity that distinguishes New York.” Genesis has no intentions to depart the city, he adds:

“This is where Genesis began. Our clientele are headquartered in this city. We believe it is critical for us to be present as an institutional prime brokerage. Our strong desire is to continue to expand our firm here because of the exceptional and diversified people eager to join the sector, notably from colleges and Wall Street.”

Pantera Capital, Bitwise, and Horizen Labs, for example, are based abroad yet have a physical presence in the city. Meanwhile, Celsius used to have a presence in the city, but when the epidemic hit, it was forced to close it. (Whether Celsius reopens its office may be influenced by a recent letter from the New York State Attorney General’s Office requesting information on the company…)

The city has developed its own blockchain initiatives. For example, the New York City Economic Development Corporation launched the NYC Blockchain Center in January 2019, a 4,000-square-foot building that supported entrepreneurship and promoted diversity and education for a year.

1635432427_760_Guide-to-New-York-%E2%80%93-Cointelegraph-MagazineThe Blockchain Center project in New York City. New York City Economic Development Corporation/NYC Blockchain Center

Infrastructure for finance

Only exchanges with a coveted BitLicense from the New York State Department of Financial Services are authorized to provide “virtual currency” services to New York-based users, making it infamously difficult to trade cryptocurrencies in the city. Only three centralized exchanges are available to New York citizens at the time of writing: Coinbase, Coinbase Pro, and Gemini. Furthermore, when compared to what is accessible in other jurisdictions, the amount of coins available to trade on these platforms is restricted. All of the main DEXs, including Uniswap, 1inch, PancakeSwap, SushiSwap, and others, are accessible from New York for anyone prepared to brave the waters of decentralized exchanges.

The rush and bustle of the metropolis may force you to purchase BTC on the fly. Thankfully, the city that never sleeps has hundreds of Bitcoin ATMs strewn over the five boroughs – albeit just a few of them enable you to sell BTC as well. In addition, the city has a Bitcoin Cash ATM in the Bronx, an Ether ATM in Manhattan, and one Bronx ATM that allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dash, and Zcash.

When it comes to conventional banking, New Yorkers have a variety of alternatives, including Chase Bank, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Capital One, and others. However, when it comes to utilizing money in one’s bank account to buy crypto, banks have been reticent in the past, with credit card transactions being a renowned stumbling block. Customers of Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Capital One were barred from buying cryptocurrency on cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in February 2018.

Banks, on the other hand, seem to be loosening off. According to Mashinsky, “August and September were extremely excellent months for crypto from a bank viewpoint,” with numerous large Wall Street banks introducing crypto services. “The tier-one banks have made a lot of progress this year.”

NYSEThe New York Stock Exchange is a structure on Wall Street that houses the New York Stock Exchange. Pexels is the source of this image.

Where can I spend my cryptocurrency?

Most merchants will still refuse to take your hard-earned Bitcoin if you try to spend it. According to Coinmap, New York City does contain a modest number of crypto-friendly venues, albeit many of them seem to be closed currently.

If you’re hungry, Queens-based bagel shop Forest Hills Bagels, Middle Eastern restaurant Shawarmania, and Chinese restaurant Yong Sheng all take BTC. If you like to shop, you could be interested in Marmalade, a vintage women’s clothes store in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint district, Little Hippie, a family-friendly fashion boutique in Williamsburg, or mineral vendor Astro West on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

For every piece available for purchase, the Postmasters art gallery in lower Manhattan takes Bitcoin and Ether. Digital art sales come with newly minted NFTs verifying ownership, and the sale is done as a wallet-to-wallet transaction. “There is this whole new industry opening up with individuals owning cryptocurrencies,” Tamas Banovich, co-director of Postmasters, tells Magazine. I believe that people will be interested in all types of art, not only digital and NFTs, in the near future, and I want to be there first to provide it.”

Meanwhile, there is a private gym. Crypto is accepted in the Fitness Office on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, as well as Kavasutra, a non-alcoholic bar in Manhattan’s East Village, and Yeras Restaurant Sports Bar in Jackson Heights, Queens.


In New York City, there are several educational and training opportunities. A secondary specialization in blockchain technology is available to graduate students at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business in the Bronx. Students will have the “chance to acquire the abilities required to stand out in this area,” according to the program’s description. Students will take classes that cover the technology, the purpose and function of cryptocurrencies, as well as the commercial and legal issues that surround the field. The Fordham Fintech Network, which links students with fintech businesses and experts, is also housed within the school.

“Accounting and the Blockchain,” “Topics in Cryptocurrency Investing,” and “Digital Currencies, Blockchains, and the Financial Services Industry” are among the fintech courses offered at New York University’s Stern School of Business in lower Manhattan. Students at NYU’s School of Professional Studies may earn credentials in “alternative investments” and “fintech,” both of which contain a “Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies” course. Those interested in participating in more on-campus activities may join the Blockchain Lab @ NYU student club.

While Columbia University’s engineering and business departments do not offer a dedicated crypto emphasis or degree program, students may enroll in a variety of courses concentrating on blockchain and its different applications. The institution also houses the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, which focuses on blockchain and data teaching, research, and innovation. In addition, high school students may take a three-week “Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, AI, and Beyond” course at a summer university immersion program.

Meanwhile, Hunter College on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has previously offered a “Intro to Blockchain” course, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, offers an MBA program that includes a NYC-based fintech intensive consisting of four courses — including “Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies” — taught over seven weeks in the spring.





Controversies in the regulatory field

The juxtaposition of New York City with cryptocurrency is fascinating. On the one hand, New York City is a significant center for finance, technology, and innovation; on the other hand, the state of New York is the most heavily regulated in the country. Any entity wishing to engage in “virtual currency commercial operations” in the state or service clients in the state must get a “BitLicense.” The New York State Department of Financial Services’ application procedure is well-known for being lengthy, expensive, tedious, complex, and difficult. Companies may also apply for a limited-purpose trust charter, which imposes even tougher requirements while still providing extra advantages like fiduciary powers.

When the rule was originally enforced in mid-2015, a large number of businesses that had been servicing New Yorkers simply ceased doing so rather than go through the time-consuming registration procedure. The New York Business Journal named it “The Great Bitcoin Exodus” at the time.

“The NY DFS BitLicense was the death knell for crypto innovation throughout the whole state,” Spanos tells Magazine. It was the ultimate smoke-filled backroom bargain that ostensibly protected consumers but really damaged New Yorkers and limited their freedom of choice.” “You will not get off the ground unless you have tremendous cash,” he continues.

Exchanges Kraken, Poloniex, ShapeShift, and Bitfinex; peer-to-peer marketplace LocalBitcoins; mining businesses BTC Guild, Genesis Mining, and Eobot; and payments provider GoCoin are among several that have left the state. While Paxful’s headquarters are still in the city, it finds itself in the peculiar position of being unable to service anybody who lives there.

“The BitLicense was not put in place to safeguard the consumer or the community,” Mashinsky tells Magazine. That was something put in place by this or that regulator in order to get a job.” He goes on to say that the requirement lowers healthy competition, which leads to increased costs for clients, such as those found on Coinbase. “They are able to get away with it because they have a BitLicense while others do not.”

Shaulov, on the other hand, believes that the city’s strict control is ultimately good. “At the very least, there is some degree of clarity in terms of what is necessary in terms of what it’s like to function in the city,” he told Magazine, adding, “In the long run, when regulation will exist everywhere, clarity — even if it’s somewhat confusing — is preferable.”

“The unpleasant truth is that you can’t avoid regulation indefinitely.” You’ll have to deal with it at some point.”

The government launched a second crackdown in 2019, this time targeting Bitfinex and Tether. It claimed that the sibling firms misled about USDT’s support and covered up enormous financial losses on purpose. New York Attorney General Letitia James stated in February 2021 that the two firms, neither of which possesses a BitLicense, would be barred from any trading activity involving New Yorkers, pay a fee, and comply with strict reporting requirements. “You either play by the rules or we will shut you down,” James warned the sector a week later.

In addition, before cryptocurrencies may be listed or utilized in New York, the state must authorize them. A few of prominent currencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin, and Binance USD, are on the Department of Financial Services’ “Greenlist” of preapproved assets. Individual certification is required for crypto assets that are not on the Greenlist.

These contentious regulatory choices affect the typical investor, since the options for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies in New York City are restricted. It’s no surprise that Reddit is flooded with threads like “Why is it so difficult to acquire cryptocurrency in New York?” “Why does New York suck so much ass for crypto investors?” and “Why does New York suck so much ass for crypto investors?”

Figures of note

The city of New York is home to a diverse cast of personalities, including several crypto pioneers, businesses, and activists. The following are some of the more noteworthy members of the group:

Hayden Adams, co-founder and CEO of Uniswap Labs; Charles Cascarilla, co-founder and CEO of Paxos; Devin Finzer, co-founder and CEO of OpenSea; Michael Gronager, CEO of Chainalysis; Robert Gutmann, co-founder and CEO of NYDIG; Letitia James, attorney general of the State of New York; Joe Lallouz, co-founder and CEO of Bison Trails; Joseph Lubin, co-founder Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group; Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale Investments; Nick Spanos, founder of Bitcoin Center NYC and the Blockchain Center; Ross Stevens, founder and executive chairman of NYDIG; Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder and president of Gemini; Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder and CEO of Gemini; Andrew Yang, former presidential candidate and cryptocurrency advocate

Jay Cassano, Jonathan DeYoung, and Gordon Meyer are members of the Cointelegraph team and contributors located in New York City.

Suggestions for this guide’s expansion are appreciated. Please contact J. DeYoung at j.deyoung@cointelegraph.com.






The “crypto kimbo blogger” is a blog that provides guides to cryptocurrencies. It also has an interactive map of the world’s top 50 cities for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. The article in this magazine is about New York and its crypto-friendly laws and regulations.

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