Hey, Miami, New York Metropolis, and Austin:
Add Quincy, Mass., to the checklist of cities throughout the nation vying to grow to be the main hub for blockchain and crypto.
I do know what you’re pondering. Why Quincy? Aren’t many of the space’s main crypto corporations — Circle, Algorand, Flipside Crypto, Constancy, State Road — primarily based in Boston, just some miles north on the Pink Line?
Why, sure, they’re. However Quincy Metropolis Councilor Ian Cain, who cofounded a startup incubator two years in the past referred to as QUBIC Labs, thinks he can construct a blockchain ecosystem that may carry jobs and a tradition of innovation to his hometown.
What’s fascinating about Cain’s effort is that, politically, he doesn’t have a lot competitors from the remainder of the state. As QUBIC Labs wrote in a white paper final 12 months, the Boston space’s blockchain sector has “largely been created with out state assist or a significant regulatory framework.”
“There was no one actually convening an area to assist the ecosystem, to develop it,” Cain stated.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has staunchly opposed crypto. And in Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu has been silent on any associated plans. (The final time Wu’s press staff responded to certainly one of my inquiries about whether or not the town was pursuing any crypto initiatives, the response was “not right now.”)
Cain, then again, needs the blockchain neighborhood to really feel welcome in Quincy, much like how Miami Mayor Francis Suarez lured crypto corporations and enterprise capitalists to his metropolis in the course of the pandemic.
“There was a circumstantial alternative that the mayor of Miami took full benefit of, in attempting to convene the power,” Cain stated. “We’re additionally seizing a possibility, as a result of I don’t see Boston shifting on this.”
Cain isn’t your typical crypto bro. He isn’t accepting his paycheck in bitcoin or utilizing an NFT as his profile image on social media (but). He’s centered on methods blockchains, or distributed ledgers, can be utilized to rework or enhance industries from finance to authorities.
“Blockchain simply isn’t about crypto,” he stated, calling it a “basic, disruptive know-how.”
Cain has demonstrated he has among the political savvy wanted to advance the trade. He helped QUBIC Labs safe a $2 million state grant, a part of a $5 million partnership that goals to create 10 to fifteen blockchain startups and as much as 60 jobs over the following two years.
We’ll discover out subsequent week whether or not he can carry the crypto power to Quincy. When it turned clear this 12 months that Boston-based Pillar VC would not host the annual “Boston Blockchain Week,” Cain determined QUBIC Labs may choose up the torch.
The occasion will nonetheless be referred to as Boston Blockchain Week, regardless of its new location, however Cain stated QUBIC Labs began from scratch, so it ought to really feel a lot totally different than in earlier years.
QUBIC Labs is aiming for a South by Southwest really feel by taking on public areas in downtown Quincy. Fort Island Enterprise companions Matt Walsh and Nic Carter will host a dwell recording of their fashionable crypto podcast, On the Brink. There might be music and artwork installations.
Cain hopes the vibe might be Miami- or New York Metropolis-esque, since he’s extremely conscious that there’s a “tradition struggle” for blockchain expertise.
As somebody who attended New York Metropolis’s greatest crypto fest this summer time, I might be pleasantly shocked if the rooftop cocktail hours in Quincy are anything like that.