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Albany Ranks No. 10 in U.S. for Cryptocurrency-Related Jobs

A Bloomberg report ranked the city as a standout city in the nation for crypto-related job hires, averaging 1.9 crypto hires per 100,000. Three of the top 10 cities were located in New York state.

(TNS) — It's possible Albany, N.Y., is on the verge of becoming a cryptocurrency hub seeing Bloomberg just listed it as the number ten standout city in the United States for crypto-related job hires.

Bloomberg's report looked at a LinkedIn analysis of the site's members who began new positions with job titles, including certain keywords such as blockchain, crypto, bitcoin, Solidity or Ethereum. The dataset specifically recognized crypto specialists over the first nine months of the year Bloomberg noted. "Cryptocurrency" is the broad term for a digital medium of exchange that is different than traditional currency.

Albany attained the Number 10 slot averaging roughly 1.9 crypto hires for every 100,000. Of all the cities ranked in the top 10, New York state had the most. Two other cities in the state were ranked higher, New York City at no. 3 and Rochester at no. 9.

Ahead of New York City were San Francisco Bay area in California and Austin, Texas, but other popular crypto-hiring cities were spread across various other states. Bloomberg concluded that the cryptocurrency hiring market, much like the technology it thrives on, is decentralized and has yet to solidify its presence in one major U.S. hub.

Albany Primed to Foster Crypto, Blockchain Technologies

While there isn't any local data counting how many crypto-related businesses are populating the region, some company leaders and experts wouldn't shy away from suggesting Albany could become a crypto focal point.

In a region full of young talent and tech titans, Richard Plotka, a Professor of Practice, as well as Administrative Director of the Information Technology and Web Sciences program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, isn't surprised Albany was named a crypto standout.

He said there's plenty of cryptocurrency and blockchain activity in the Capital Region. Node 40, ecoLong, Branded AF and Mechanical Technology are just a handful of the area's crypto or blockchain-compatible businesses.

In fact, Plotka is working with RPI to erect a center of excellence for the technology's development and application in different industries, such as sustainable energy.

EcoLong, an Albany-based startup, for example, created a marketplace for renewable energy trading built on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology uses a network of dispersed computers to manage company transactions. It's essentially a public, digital ledger that has been praised for its anonymity and ability to keep data from being altered once transactions are entered.

Community members who use renewable energy can share it with others or sell the extra energy they accumulate back to the grid using ecoLong's platform. The company is paid via either a subscription fee or charge for every transaction completed on the blockchain network.

Nancy Min, the founder of ecoLong, believes there are a couple of reasons why Albany was recognized as a crypto-hiring standout and is primed to experience growth for such jobs. The region's proximity to other major locales such as Boston and New York City makes it ideal for development.

"But more fundamentally... I think we have a great ecosystem of universities and top talent," she said. "So that I think, has really made that transition to be more high-tech focus."

Min's three-person team currently works remotely, but she hopes to expand the group in time. EcoLong isn't the only company to capitalize on the flexibility of remote work for crypto hires.

Branded AF, a Saratoga Springs consulting firm that helps startups and companies with development and branding, is also composed of a mostly remote team. Managing Partner Chris Thompson's team is 22-freelancers strong, all of which are spread across four continents and seven countries and half of them work on crypto-specific or NFT-based projects.

Thompson, similarly to Min, believes the Capital Region's workforce is moving toward the consumer demand for tech-driven employment. He pointed to the area's growing gaming and NFT industry as an indicator of expansion into similar markets for cryptocurrency.

But Plotka and David Read, a Skidmore senior lecturer in computer science, pointed to a third dimension that makes Albany optimal for crypto expansion. The Capital Region's tech-valleyesque composition puts it in a unique position to foster advancement in such fields, according to the two.

Being that New York's capital is situated nearby means there is access to powerful parties who can influence policy. Granted the state has "very definitive" policy regarding cryptocurrency, it can help inform other states' decision-making when they get around to addressing market rules, Plotka explained.

Read further noted that the capital may also lead to people who have financial interests in the technology who can push the agenda alongside experts.

"I think by having experts in this area who understand blockchains, separate from crypto, will lead to this being an area where we can start to create solutions based on that technology not tied necessarily to just kind of the instant riches... of playing with the cryptocurrencies themselves," Read said.

(c)2021 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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