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Opinion: California crypto policy should drive innovation — and access for Latinos

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 made up of startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs from every corner of the economy who work hard to create jobs and opportunity in communities across our great state.

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

One of the most interesting advances, and one with perhaps the greatest benefit 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 evolved at an amazing rate and are now at the heart of a new industry that has the potential to positively change the world at scale.

The Latino community was an early adopter of this technology. Crypto usage has surged in Latin America, growing faster than almost anywhere else in the world. It has become an increasingly viable way to send money to family members across borders – blockchain can be a faster, cheaper and more efficient system for remittances than using methods like wire transfers, which can come with high fees and delays.

Crypto also offers a way for the unbanked to send, receive, and store money without turning to the kind of alternative financial systems that often don’t think about consumer interests or protection.

These are just a few of the many real world applications out there today. It’s even more exciting to think of the applications that might be available in the future as this industry evolves. There are potential applications for blockchain technology that can empower businesses and consumers in almost every imaginable area of ​​the economy.

It can be one of the most innovative and impactful developments of 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 practical benefits of this technology in their lives. And we need to tell our elected officials to advocate for smart, common-sense policies that recognize all the good things crypto can bring to our community.

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

It’s also important that California – home of American innovation and undisputed pioneer of our tech economy – once again lead the way. We encourage our state legislators and regulators to support policies that establish coherent standards of transparency and accountability while enabling the innovation sandboxes to thrive.

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 participate in the American dream.

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

The technology behind blockchain and cryptography is here to stay and it can be a game changer for the next generation of our business world. 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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