New York City Mayor Eric Adams has called on regulators to "listen to those within the industry" as they build out the regulatory infrastructure around cryptocurrency.

Speaking at the Financial Times Crypto and Digital Assets Summit, Adams said, "The most important thing is to listen to those within the industry, because this is relatively new and sometimes we are fearful when it comes to new technologies, particularly something like cryptocurrency and blockchain."

"It is imperative that we work with the state lawmakers and regulators," Adams said, adding that his office is "working with our state partners to assess the landscape around cryptocurrency and digital assets to ensure alignment with more traditional means of financing."

It's not just a case of "thinking outside the box," Adams added, but to "destroy the box, because this is a new way of looking at the world; this global business in our city, goods and services."

A conference stage in purple light.
Eric Adams being interviewed via Zoom. Image: Decrypt/Stephen Graves

Eric Adams and crypto

A keen advocate of cryptocurrency, Adams converted his first paycheck as mayor of New York City into Bitcoin and Ethereum, fulfilling a pledge made during his election campaign to receive his first three paychecks in cryptocurrency. The funds were automatically converted from fiat into cryptocurrency by crypto exchange Coinbase, as U.S. Department of Labor regulations currently prohibit the city from paying its employees directly in crypto.

In a statement made at the time, Adams said that taking his paycheck in cryptocurrency helped to place New York City "on the forefront" of innovation, adding that, "New York is the center of the world, and we want it to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations."

As far back as 2015, Adams described Bitcoin as a "disruptive technology," announcing that, “I want Bitcoin. I want Airbnb. And I want marijuana dispensaries.”

He went on to make cryptocurrency a central plank of his election campaign, stating that, "We’re going to become the center of life science, the center of cybersecurity, the center of self-driving cars, drones, the center of Bitcoins."


He faces competition for the title of 'America's Bitcoin Mayor' from Miami's Francis Suarez—who, like Adams, has taken paychecks in Bitcoin. Suarez has announced that he wants to make Miami the "Bitcoin, blockchain and mining capital of the world," with the city playing host to the recent Bitcoin 2022 conference; last year, Adams bemoaned that Miami was "beating New York" in business.

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