Chicago: The Next FinTech Cryptocurrency Powerhouse

Rafael Augusto | @ancient_scrolls

During a FinTech meeting held in Chicago on March 18th, Mayor Ralph Emmanuel made it very clear that he wants his “Windy City” to pioneer the ongoing worldwide crypto revolution.

Ralph Emmanuel, a former Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama, believes that, as cryptocurrencies become more widely accepted, they will eventually reshape the way we use our money and how finances work forever. Therefore, encouraging the adoption of cryptocurrencies in his city is a must if Chicago wants to keep its economy diversified and survive in the innovation sector.

Can Paperless Currencies Fix a Financial Crisis?

According to Mayor Emmanuel, “The trend lines are affirmative for its future. I don’t know if that’s ten years, and I don’t know if that’s 20 years, but it’s affirmative. I don’t know what it is. I know it’s an alternative way to trade, and therefore, I gotta learn about it, and I gotta be honest, as mayor, it’s not the top 100 things I would have to learn about.”

In other words, he views change as inevitable. You either adapt to these changes or be left out. In this case, he expressed in the FinTech meeting that cryptocurrency is the best choice for survival in times of financial crisis.

The Mayor also stated that “nation states are falling apart, or receding. City states are emerging, so the political structures we all grew up under are changing. One day, somebody’s going to figure out – whether that’s Argentina, ten years from now, five years from now – how to use cryptocurrencies to stay alive when they’re facing a financial crisis, and then you’re going to find out that this moment has arrived.” There is a lot of truth to his ideas, as many of the major cities of the world have their own wages and some of them even go to the point of having their own types of income tax.

Emmanuel may have a limited understanding of how cryptocurrencies and the blockchain work. After all, his area of expertise is politics and city management. Nevertheless, this doesn’t make any of his ideas less credible. Not only are more and more people starting to save money through the use of paperless currencies, but the adoption of cryptocurrencies by stores and corporations is slowly increasing as well. What was once viewed as a dubious means of enrichment and trading believed to be used by hackers, mafias, and money launderers all over the world is now, slowly, becoming accepted as any other type of currency.

Chicago: A Technological Hub?

According to Emmanuel, the success of his Windy City can be attributed back to one thing: talent across various fields. Thanks to this talent the city has one of the most diversified economies in the world. He wants to keep it that way.

During the FinTech meeting, Emmanuel made it very clear that he wants to keep Chicago as one of the most innovative cities in the world. But in order to do so, he has to keep attracting tech talent by encouraging the acceptance of new technologies and make his city more attractive to IT enthusiasts. To make his point, he referred to a Deloitte report from 2017 where Chicago was referred to as one of the five global technological powerhouses.

Why is the Blockchain Still Seen as Shady?

This notion is mostly due to the “crypto” nature of most paperless currencies. Unlike fiat currencies, like the American dollar or British pounds, cryptocurrencies aren’t typically backed or controlled by any nation-state. Cryptocurrencies were also created with the goal of allowing people to stay anonymous and decentralized. This may seem like a nightmare to any government or corporation. After all, they all want to have some kind of control over the masses and a way to identify us. Nevertheless, as the adoption of decentralized currencies increases among stores and the masses, governments will end up having to compromise in one way or another. Otherwise, they will be left out from this financial revolution.

Some governments are already trying to regulate the FinTech sector. A big example of this is how Canadian regulatory agencies are already trying to create more strict regulations after a Canadian FinTech company got locked out from its own crypto reserves and was forced to file for bankruptcy, this incident is currently referred to as the QuadrigaCX incident. This incident made the startup so infamous that the crypto community is calling FinTech disasters as “The QuadrigaCX effect”.

While the meeting may paint an attractive picture of the future mass adoption of cryptocurrencies by governments and corporations. After all, Ralph Emmanuel and some politicians seem to be willing to cooperate with the crypto market by attracting tech talent and pushing for the adoption of these new technologies into stores, corporations, banks and so on. We have to keep in mind that until we see more endorsement by the government and big corporations, the use of cryptocurrencies in our everyday lives will remain a dram. Nevertheless, the future for FinTech startups and crypto enthusiasts seems promising.


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