In Brief

  • Former candidate for US President Andrew Yang pondering a bid for NYC mayor
  • Yang, the "crypto candidate" could push for rethink of New York State's onerous regulations.

Andrew Yang, the Bitcoin-friendly former US presidential candidate who withdrew from the race earlier this month, is reportedly considering running for mayor of New York. With the Big Apple being at the epicenter of many blockchain-related activities, Yang could make a big impact on crypto were he to take on the position.

“Conceivably, he might actually be able to do more good for the blockchain industry as Mayor of New York than as President,” Mati Greenspan, a crypto analyst and founder of Quantum Economics, told Decrypt.  “Many of the key cases that are playing out right now are based in New York, so the adoption of local crypto-friendly regulations there could go a long way towards setting a positive precedent.”

How the Mayor of New York could advocate for crypto

Notably, the State of New York is home to the controversial “BitLicense,” which has been a thorn in the side of the crypto industry since its introduction in 2015. As Decrypt reported, critics of BitLicense claim that it saddles the state’s crypto businesses with onerous filing regulations and expenses. Some exchanges have closed operations and left the state in protest, including Kraken.

In December, New York revisited BitLicense, proposing new token listing guidelines. Even though the NYDFS claims that it is considering relaxing strict cryptocurrency listing requirements for the exchanges that operate in the state, BitLicense continues to draw the crypto community’s ire. 

Although BitLicense is a construct of New York State, it certainly won’t hurt to have a crypto-friendly and articulate advocate in the form of New York City’s mayor to revisit the law. Yang has been outspoken in his support of blockchain and cryptos, lauding the "high potential" of cryptocurrencies and stating that regulation couldn't "impede" Bitcoin. He’s also advised overhauling crypto regulation.

Yang also stated previously that the US government’s “knowledge of technology and the ability to regulate it” is being “outpaced by innovation.” So while his withdrawal from the presidential campaign may have disappointed Democratic crypto fans, a run for the office of New York mayor could give Yang the opportunity to be a strong advocate for the crypto industry as a whole.