Opinion: California’s crypto policy should promote innovation — and access for Latinos

Opinion: California’s crypto policy should promote innovation — and access for Latinos

The symbol for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. Image via Pixabay

For more than forty years, the Latin Business Association has served as the unified voice of hundreds of thousands of Latino-owned businesses across California. Our membership consists of startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs in all parts of the economy who are working hard to create jobs and opportunity in communities across our great state.

While we celebrate the gains we have made in the past and the successes we enjoy today, we also look to the future. The next four decades will provide even greater opportunities for our members to grow and prosper. Advances in technology have opened up new markets here at home and around the world for California businesses to compete in and win.

One of the most interesting advances, and one with perhaps the highest upside and potential, is the development of technology in digital assets. Things that didn’t even exist a decade or two ago – like cryptocurrency, NFTs and decentralized finance – have evolved at an incredible speed and are now at the core of a new industry that can bring large-scale, positive change to the world.

The Latino community has been an early adopter of this technology. Crypto usage has taken off in Latin America, growing at a faster pace than almost anywhere else in the world. It has become an increasingly viable way to send money across borders to family members – blockchain can be a faster, cheaper and more efficient system for money transfers than using methods such as bank transfers, which can incur high fees and delays.

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Crypto also offers a way for the unbanked to send, receive, and store money without turning to the kinds of alternative financial systems that often don’t have consumers’ interests or protections in mind.

These are just some of the many real-world applications that exist today. It is even more exciting to think about the applications that may be available in the future as this industry continues to evolve. There are potential uses for blockchain technology that can empower businesses and consumers in almost every imaginable area of ​​the economy.

It could be one of the most innovative and impactful developments of our lifetime – but we need to do things right to see the full benefits. We need to educate our friends, neighbors and colleagues about the real use this technology has for them in their lives. And we need to tell our elected officials to work for smart, sensible policies that recognize all the good things crypto can bring to our society.

Recognizing that our members do business not only in California, but in states across the country—and in markets around the world—it is important to have sound policy at the federal level that sets clear standards and writes the rules of the road in a growth-oriented manner. There are members of California’s delegation to Congress who have shown outstanding leadership in this area and offered support for real solutions that will allow the crypto-economy to thrive.

It’s also important that California—the home of American innovation and the undisputed pioneer of our tech economy—leads the way again. We urge our state legislators and regulators to support policies that establish consistent standards of transparency and accountability while allowing the “sandboxes” of innovation to succeed.

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The potential of digital assets is not just for those who can afford to invest or buy today; it offers the potential for a more accessible and equitable framework for people everywhere to share in the American Dream.

Our organization exists for one reason: our passion to grow and protect our Latino-owned businesses. Our mission is to help strengthen them today and to lay the foundations for even greater success in the years to come.

The technology behind blockchain and crypto is here to stay, and it could be a game-changer for the next generation of our business world. Let’s work together to make this potential a reality.

Ruben Guerra is chairman and CEO of the Latin Business Association in Montebello.

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