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The next US hotspot for crypto: Connecticut?

By Kevin Donovan

17:07, 30 November 2021

Conecticut Gov. Ned Lamont joined by local, state and federal leaders on the site of Digital Currency Group's future office in Stamford
Governor Ned Lamont, with local, state and federal leaders, on the DCG office site – Photo: Office of Gov. Ned Lamont

Blockchain investment firm Digital Currency Group (DCG) is moving its headquarters from New York City to Stamford, Connecticut, in a shift that reflects rising competition among cities and states to attract cutting-edge companies.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced the move at a groundbreaking ceremony Monday.

The parent company of Grayscale Investments and TradeBlock has signed a lease in the Shippan Landing office complex and will receive up to $5.01m (£4.44m) in state grants for the move, contingent on creating 300 new jobs in the Nutmeg State. DCG subsidiary CoinDesk will not be part of the relocation.

The new facility, undergoing a renovation and expected to open late next year, is 90,000 square feet of office space. DGC and its subsidiaries are currently located on 6th Avenue in Manhattan’s Flatiron district.

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is providing the grants.

The new frontier

“Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are the new frontier for financial investing, and DCG is at the forefront of this burgeoning sector,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said in a statement announcing the move. “Connecticut is a great fit for dynamic investment firms like DCG that are disrupting the marketplace and showing great growth potential over the long-term.”

Connecticut actively aims to attract companies in the blockchain, cryptocurrency and fintech industries, noted Gov. Lamont.

“(Connecticut) may be called the Land of Steady Habits, but we’re steadily changing that by attracting cutting-edge companies that are transforming the game and bringing good paying jobs with them,” Lamont said in a tweet. “Now we're playing offense as innovative companies in fintech, manufacturing, and logistics are choosing to call (Connecticut) home.”

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“It quickly became clear that Connecticut had everything we were looking for in a new headquarters,” DCG CEO and founder Barry Silbert said. “Its proximity to major metropolitan areas combined with its infrastructure, talent, business-friendly environment, and world-class facilities to house our rapidly-growing organisation made it an easy choice.”

“We are committed to making our new home in Stamford a hub for the next generation of fintech and blockchain entrepreneurs.”

Municipalities jockey for position

The move comes as states and local municipalities jockey for position to become destinations for the burgeoning blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has embraced cryptocurrencies in a stated effort to make Miami the “cryptocurrency capital.”

Part of Suarez efforts include the launch of MiamiCoin through the non-profit CityCoin Community, with a goal to fund the city’s operations with a Bitcoin yield, in lieu of municipal taxes.

Not to be undone, New York City Mayor-Elect Eric Adams has vowed to make the Big Apple a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub, and stated a desire to receive his first three paychecks in Bitcoin.

It remains unclear if local municipal government has the influence to fulfil these goals, as Suarez’s Miami is restricted by state law from holding cryptocurrency and Adams’ New York City deals with an unstable and uncertain gubernatorial situation, with Governor Kathy Hochul serving as interim governor until an election scheduled for next November.

Read more: Bitcoin bull calls US mayors competition for bitcoin primacy ‘fantastic’

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