Chicago is building itself up as a leader in the world of blockchain and crypto. The region already hosts a bitcoin ATM operator and a crypto mining facility and is looking to add a whole lot more to the mix.
Chicago Is Becoming a Real Crypto Hub
David Carman is a fintech consultant and board member with Global DCA, a crypto industry association in Chicago. He says that over the years, people within the city have grown to love digital assets, and the market itself is really starting to flourish there. He says:
The real expert, the final arbiter of what is happening, is the market itself. People can pass judgement on bitcoin all they want, but when you have a market that has reached over $1 trillion, this is way beyond proof of concept.
Now it looks like Chicago and Illinois-based regulators are considering the passing of a new bill that would establish a special purpose depository trust for crypto assets. Banks would be required to follow certain rules to offer digital assets to their customers… Even more if they were to serve as custodians. The bill has already garnered approval in the Illinois House and will likely be taken up by the Senate at the end of the summer.
Should the bill get the greenlight, Illinois would become the second state after Wyoming to allow trusts to hold crypto. The move is set to bring lots of attention to Chicago and inspire several financial institutions delving in digital assets and blockchain to set up shop there.
Representative Margaret Croke of Chicago explained in an interview:
It is not only just about the charter itself, but it is also the signal to businesses who are dealing in this space that we will create a stable regulatory environment. This is the one time we could beat New York in financial services or in an emerging industry.
Chicago is home to one of the largest crypto mining facilities in the country. Owned by Sangha Systems, the company was initially based in New York, but decided to open their Illinois location in late 2019. Sangha has been listening to all the recent arguments surrounding bitcoin mining and the environment and has established this new facility as entirely solar powered to place some of the environmental fears that critics have at rest.
Fixing the Environmental Problems
Spencer Marr – president and co-founder of Sangha – explained in a statement:
It is absolutely true that cryptocurrency mining uses an amount of electricity that is unprecedented. I look at the demand for electricity that mining represents as effectively a subsidy for the build-out of renewable energy supply.
The facility is a former steel mill that occupies approximately 873 acres. Covering approximately 1.35 million square feet, the mill initially closed its doors about 12 years ago – right as bitcoin was arriving on the financial scene.