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

The symbol of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. Photo via Pixabay

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

As 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 bring even greater opportunities for our members to grow and thrive. Advances in technology have opened up new markets here at home and around the world for Californian companies to compete and win.

One of the most interesting advances, and perhaps one with the highest benefit and potential, is the evolution of technology in digital assets. Things that didn’t even exist a decade or two ago, such as cryptocurrency, NFTs, and decentralized finance, have developed at astonishing speed and are now at the heart of a new industry that can bring about large-scale positive change in the world.

The Latin community was one of the first to adopt this technology. The use of cryptocurrencies has taken off in Latin America and has grown at a faster rate 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 remittance system than using methods such as wire transfers, which can involve high fees and delays.

Crypto also offers a way for those without bank accounts to send, receive and store money without resorting to alternative types of financial systems that often overlook consumer interest or protections.

These are just a few 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 develop. There are potential uses of blockchain technology that can empower businesses and consumers in almost any conceivable area of ​​the economy.

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

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 a strong federal-level policy that sets clear standards and writes the rules of the road in a way growth oriented. There are members of the California delegation to Congress who have shown exceptional leadership in this space and offered support for real solutions that will allow the crypto economy to thrive.

It is also important that California, home of American innovation and the undisputed pioneer of our tech economy, is back in the lead. We encourage our state lawmakers and regulators to support policies that set consistent standards for transparency and accountability, while enabling innovation sandboxes to be successful.

The potential of digital assets isn’t just for those who can afford to invest or buy today; offers the potential for a more accessible and equitable framework for people around the world to participate in the American dream.

Our organization exists for a reason: our passion for growing and protecting our Latin-owned businesses. Our mission is to help them strengthen them today and lay the foundation for even greater success in the years to come.

The technology behind blockchain and cryptocurrency is here to stay and can be a game changer for the next generation of our business community. We work together to make that potential a reality.

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

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