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Innovation

Opinion: California Crypto Policies Should Advance Innovation – and Access for Latinos

Bitcoin
The symbol for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. Photo 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 throughout California. Our membership is comprised of startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs in all parts of the economy that are working hard to create jobs and opportunities in communities across our great state.

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

One of the most interesting advances, and one with perhaps the highest upside and potential, is the evolution of technology in digital assets. Things that didn’t even exist a decade or two ago — like cryptocurrency, NFTs, and decentralized finance — have developed at an amazing 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 use has taken off in Latin America and grown at a faster pace than almost anywhere else in the world. It has become an increasingly viable way of sending money across borders to family members — blockchain can be a faster, cheaper, and more efficient system for remittances than using methods like wire transfers, which can carry high fees and delays.

Crypto also offers a way for those without bank accounts to send, receive, and store money without turning to the kinds of alternative financial systems that often fail to have consumer interest or protections in mind.

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

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

Recognizing that our members do business not just in California but in states all over the country — and in markets all over 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 way. There are members of California’s delegation to Congress who have shown outstanding leadership in this space and offered support for real solutions that will allow the crypto economy to thrive.

It is also important that California — the home of American innovation and the unquestioned pioneer of our tech economy — leads the way again. We encourage our state legislators and regulators to support policies that establish coherent standards for transparency and accountability while at the same time allowing the “sandboxes” of innovation to succeed.

The potential of digital assets isn’t 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 take part 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 groundwork for even greater success in the years to come.

The technology behind blockchain and crypto is here to stay, and it can be a game-changer for the next generation of our business community. Let’s work together to turn that potential into reality.

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


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