Young cryptocurrency millionaires — and those who want to learn more about their hot assets — converge weekly in the Big Apple to drink, exchange business cards, and enjoy their collective good fortune at being early to the second internet gold rush.
The most recent gathering, held Monday in the upper room of Sean’s, a Midtown pub, featured dozens of 20- and 30-something techies dressed like they were going for a day hike in Portland — mingling with each other and a smattering of women as they sipped pints of Guinness and nibbled burgers and fries.
The event is called “CryptoMondays,” the Big Apple’s largest tech-style “meetup” devoted to digital currency — but on Nov. 15 the chatter wasn’t about Dogecoin or DeFi, but Mayor-elect Eric Adams.
New York is far from the most crypto-friendly state in the union, thanks to the Department of Financial Service’s restrictive “BitLicense,”Participants complained that everyone involved in virtual currency business must have the license. The license does not allow for new coin offerings, nor certain types of crypto-backed loans that fall within the scope of the license. “decentralized finance”Or “DeFi” umbrella.
Lou Kerner, 60 is an organizer for the “CryptoMondays” meetups. Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
“CryptoMondays”This is a group that meets in Manhattan to discuss cryptocurrency. Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
But they hope the new mayor — who has promised to make the city central to the booming new industry — can boost the local scene, while using his big-city bully pulpit to sway Albany to loosen crypto regs.
“I think Eric Adams is realizing that New York is very slow in terms of crypto adoption,”Nelson Merchan, 27, is a marketing specialist for the crypto-industry. He told The Post. “I think it’s a very smart move … I think it’s a move to compete with Miami.”
Miami’s mayor, Francis Suarez, has floated a city cryptocurrency that would pay a yield to Miami residents, eliminating residents’ need to pay taxes.
Not one to be outdone, Adams has argued cryptocurrency should be taught in schools, considered copying Miami’s municipal cryptocurrency, and said he’ll take his first three paychecks “in Bitcoin.”
The chatter at the Nov. 15 meetup was about Eric Adams, Mayor-elect. Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
Sean Koh is present “CryptoMondays” at Sean’s Irish Bar in Manhattan. Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
Adams representatives clarified that since the city can only process payrolls in American dollars, the mayor plans to take his salary, after taxes, and purchase Bitcoin. His most recent financial disclosure doesn’t list any crypto holdings.
Sean Koh is a recording artist and cofounder at Koherent, a subsidiary his family office. He said he plans on wintering in “crypto hub” Miami — but he’s open to a more crypto-friendly New York.
“Everything is always about execution,”He said. “It really comes down to the details as far as how blockchain will help the city.” He’s referring to the building block of cryptocurrency: the decentralized “chain”Verified transactions that allow a digital, central-bank-free currency.
In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first THREE paychecks in Bitcoin when I become mayor. NYC will be the heart of the cryptocurrency industry, and other innovative, fast-growing industries. Wait!
— Eric Adams (@ericadamsfornyc) November 4, 2021
Architect Alexandros Washburn, 59, chief urban designer under Michael ’s mayoralty, says he holds Bitcoin and Ethereum — the two largest cryptocurrencies.
His new company markets and sells digital “buildings”As “NFTs,”or non-fungible tokens. The metaverse can be built based on these tokens. [the blockchain]. And we’re here to help do that,” he said.
Alex Atallah (29), co-founder, chief technology officer, of the $1.5 million NFT marketplace OpenSea said he was “hoping for improvement” on New York state’s tough cryptocurrency regulations, which “make things really hard for companies building in New York.”
Alexandros Washburn at a and Nicholas Cassab “CryptoMondays” get-together.Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
Alex Atallah, founder and CEO of OpenSea, speaks at “CryptoMondays”Manhattan. Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
CryptoMondays attendees hope the new mayor will rush in changes that make New York City more friendly to cryptocurrency.Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
The Post was informed by a DFS representative: “BitLicense requirements serve purposes including consumer protection, safety and soundness of the entity, market integrity, and the prevention of money laundering and other crimes. […] The State welcomes and encourages virtual currency companies to start up and enter the New York market”
Despite being twice the age of many attendees, the ringleader of the NYC branch is Lou Kerner, 60 — a partner at crypto fund Blockchain Coinvestors. His firm has just launched a crypto focused SPAC, which is a publicly-traded shell business with a pot cash. It will look to merge it with a crypto company.
Kerner bounced around the room introducing strangers, more than keeping up with the group — most of which, unlike him, came of age in the glow of a computer monitor.
The former Wall Street analyst and dot-com boom executive bristled at what he says is their go-to slur — “boomer” — before launching into the story of his crypto conversion experience.
“I saw the crypto light on June 29, 2019. And I’ve been crypto 24/7 ever since,”He said.