Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration chased cryptocurrency exchanges out of New York State when they enacted BitLicense in 2015. When that bill passed, Bitcoin startups pulled out of the state, citing the $5,000 fee and expected legal costs exceeding $100,000 for compliance. Unbank ripped out their Bitcoin ATMs, Shapeshift blocked New York IP addresses and other startups pulled out as well, including Bitfinex, BitQuick, BTCGuild, Eobot, Genesis Mining, GoCoin, Kraken, LocalBitcoins, Paxful, and Poloniex.

On the West Coast, Washington State attracted many crypto-mining companies with low electricity costs after news came out that countries like China and South Korea initiated stifling regulations on the industry. Rather than encouraging economic growth in this burgeoning market, Washington State is now enforcing cryptocurrency regulations that may result in a mass exodus as well.

Larry Sharpe, the Libertarian candidate for Governor of New York wants this to stop. He seeks to unleash economic growth, not just in New York City, but also in Upstate NY and on Long Island, and he sees blockchain and “the Bitcoins of the world” as part of his plan. He believes in the technology so much that he released his own token, SharpeCoin, as a component of his campaign fundraising tactics. It’s built on the Waves Platform, it’s tradable, and it’s redeemable for t-shirts and other swag. Watch Parts One and Two of our four-part interview with this influential, pro-crypto candidate for Governor.

Larry Sharpe Interview: Part 1 of 4

Cryptocurrency is under attack in the United States. As more and more people dive into the blockchain and digital currency world, an increasing number of government officials and figures seem focused on clamping down on the industry. One leading example comes at the hands of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and a band of cosponsors who introduced Senate Bill 1241, the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017, back in May 2017.

The legislation contains a number of stipulations that have been concerning for those in the digital currency world. For example, one section seems to expand on civil asset forfeiture (sometimes referred to as civil seizure), where a person who is suspected of a crime could see their virtual assets frozen or confiscated, with no due process or guilty verdict.

Governor Cuomo’s administration appears to be on a crusade against cryptocurrency. Under his watchful eye, New York passed their BitLicense Regulatory Framework in 2015, which laid out a number of stipulations governing cryptocurrency business in the state. The framework’s strict and often-confusing requirements not only led to 10+ cryptocurrency firms leaving the state within two weeks of its passage, but it has prevented other start-ups from driving new business in the state, and it has forced law-abiding people to find workarounds to trade their digital assets, using VPNs to bypass IP blocks on cryptocurrency exchanges that don’t operate in the state.

Larry Sharpe, who is running for Governor of New York in 2018 is a vocal opponent to the BitLicense Regulatory Framework. Sharpe characterized the restrictions as an example of crony capitalism, asserting that people should be able to “trade in whatever they value, whether that is money, currency, bitcoin, labor, or even comic books.”

Sharpe says regulating digital currency is just another example of how “we are using the War on Terror to stifle freedom and to track our citizens.” Sharpe, who is running as a Libertarian for the 2018 election, has made waves in the New York political scene after he received the second-highest amount in campaign contributions over the past six months, ahead of all Republican candidates according to Politico, second only to incumbent Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. It’s unlikely that the Empire State will go red, but could the deep blue state of New York go gold? Sharpe thinks it can.

He’s gained political prominence not just because of his ideas, but also due to his open and emphatic communication style, his status as a veteran, and for his insightful takes on business due to experience in sales and management consulting. Now he’s got a new mission: to bring the blockchain back to New York, and to give air to a suffocating economy, in a state where people are finding more reasons to leave than to stay.

If elected, Sharpe intends to repeal all anti-cryptocurrency legislation that has been put in place in New York State, to set a precedent for other states to follow. Besides cryptocurrency, Sharpe also has a number of other forward-thinking ideas relating to business and economics. In an interview with Nicholas Veser of Liberty Link Media Group, Sharpe emphasized the need to turn New York state into one of “innovation and opportunity,” rather than corruption and bribery. He pitched the idea of letting companies purchase naming rights to bridges in New York City and then putting those companies in charge of management and maintenance, in order to fix the city’s infrastructure.

We sat down for an exclusive interview with Larry Sharpe because we are very curious about his perspective on cryptocurrency and business. During the interview, Larry shared his perspectives about business, entrepreneurship, cryptocurrency and innovation, and also discussed his own upcoming digital token, Sharpecoin, available on the Waves platform.

Sharpe spelled out his views on digital currency and blockchain during the first few minutes of the interview. He emphasized the point that people should be allowed to trade in whatever they want, and said one of the purposes of his campaign was to push against a culture of control. He characterized cryptocurrency and blockchain as a way to break down barriers and give people who have an innovative and dynamic mindset a way to do something extraordinary. Sharpe hopes the launch of his own digital currency will spurn others to enter the cryptocurrency sphere and embrace the technology.

Pivoting to a discussion about his campaign, Sharpe commented on his successful fundraising endeavors and the disdain against incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo. He pointed out how a candidate needs to embody a different mentality than what has been seen before to encourage New Yorkers to get out and vote and become involved in their communities. We need more leaders in the political sphere to embrace technology, and to remove barriers to entry that prevent start-ups and entrepreneurs from realizing their full potential. Larry Sharpe appears to be one such leader.

Check out Part Two of the interview below, and check back next week for Parts Three and Four. In the below clip, you’ll hear about Sharpe’s opposition to current cryptocurrency regulations in New York, and how he believes the battle for cryptocurrency could emulate the longstanding War on Drugs. In the clip that follows, he shares his thoughts on the outcome if New York does not keep up with crypto-friendly states, and how the United States may fall below the curve internationally if more states don’t take action to prevent federal control tactics from pushing blockchain companies out of the country.

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