Article By Jeremy Wall
Rahm Emanuel, current Mayor of Chicago and former Chief of Staff to US President Barack Obama, took the podium at a city meeting on March 18 to discuss Chicago’s fintech movement.
While speaking at the meeting, as reported by Forbes on March 20, the mayor admitted he does not fully understand blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. However, he recognizes their importance for countries who face financial sanctions like Venezuela and Iran, where crypto is used to maintain global transactions.
For this reason, Emanuel believes cryptocurrency has a viable use case and its adoption is likely inevitable.
Crypto Adoption Will Start With Countries in Financial Crisis
Delving into how he believes cryptocurrencies will stay alive, he explained that countries in financial crisis will be the first to adopt them. As political boundaries are redrawn, countries will need an alternative currency to deal with the debt markets at some point in the future.
Explaining more, Emanuel said:
“Nation states are falling apart, or receding. City states are emerging, so the political structures we all grew up under are changing. One day, somebody’s going to figure out – whether that’s Argentina, ten years from now, five years from now – how to use cryptocurrencies to stay alive when they’re facing a financial crisis, and then you’re going to find out that this moment has arrived.”
In regards to a timeline of when countries will need to use crypto as an alternative form of currency, Emanuel said he didn’t know if it will be 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years from now, but he did note that the crypto trend lines are affirmative and it will happen in the future.
During his discussion, Emmanuel was asked on his overall sentiment toward cryptocurrency and blockchain. He reiterated that he lacks sufficient knowledge, but added what he does know:
“I know it’s an alternative way to trade, and therefore, I gotta learn about it, and I gotta be honest, as mayor, it’s not the top 100 things I would have to learn about.”
Chicago’s Fintech Industry
Later in the meeting, the Chicago Mayor highlighted that the city of Chicago has something really unique, further stating that he sees the city as a top 5 global technology hub and that cryptocurrency is obviously the hottest space right now.
However, he did not attribute all of the city’s innovations in fintech to cryptocurrency, stating that there’s a lot of different areas ripe for research and innovation.
“There’s a lot of other things that go on in the financial or in FinTech that is necessary and has to be researched, and then has to be innovated, taking that research and set it up as a startup, but I see the hottest thing right now is in that space, in that area.”
As previously reported by IIB, Chicago is one of the leading cities in America for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. It’s home to numerous big exchanges and rich with cryptocurrency ATMs throughout the city.
Therefore, with a crypto-friendly mayor like Emanuel, Chicago could very well become a global leader in fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology.