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We may still be in a bear market, but New York City (NYC) is placing its bets on bitcoin (BTC) with the opening of a 4,000-square-foot Blockchain Centre yesterday. The NYC Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is behind the move.

Ana Arino, the chief strategy officer at the EDC, told Bloomberg, ““We are playing the long game. It’s a nascent technology, so there’s bound to be uncertainty around this evolution from year to year. While we don’t know what the future holds, we want to make sure we have a seat at the table shaping it.”

The EDC is a partnership with affiliates including venture-capital fund Future\Perfect Ventures and the Global Blockchain Business Council, a trade organisation. Bloomberg also reports that the city may start testing blockchain technology this autumn.

The new centre is located at 54 W. 21st St. in the Flatiron District, which is in the centre of the city’s Silicon Alley, and will offer everything from coding classes to lunch lectures for software developers to the general public.

The city has put up a one-time initial investment of $100,000, and now the EDC is looking to raise more funds through membership dues and through corporate partners. These include Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp., according to Jalak Jobanputra, managing partner at Future\Perfect Ventures.

Jobanputra told Bloomberg: “This is a neutral spot, there’s no one platform or company that has undue influence over programming. What we want entrepreneurs to have is a choice.”

According to the EDC, in 2017 New York’s blockchain startups received more than $500 million in venture capital funding, up 500 percent from 2017. Furthermore, a number of the world’s biggest blockchain employers, including IBM, R3 and Coinbase, are growing their bases in the city. As a result, in 2018 New Yorkers saw more than 2,200 blockchain-related job postings, up 80 percent on 2017.

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