Information to Austin – Cointelegraph Journal


This “Crypto Metropolis” information seems to be at Austin’s crypto tradition, the town’s most notable tasks and folks, its monetary infrastructure, which retailers settle for crypto and the place you’ll find blockchain training programs — and there are even the juicy particulars of a well-known controversy. All the things is larger in Texas, together with its enthusiasm for crypto.


Quick details

Metropolis: AustinCountry: United StatesPopulation: 974,000Founded: 1839Most widespread languages: English, Spanish


The capital of the most important state within the contiguous United States, Austin is called a dwell music mecca, with festivals drawing in 1000’s of individuals from all over the world annually, together with Austin Metropolis Limits and South by Southwest. The Texas metropolis is a novel mix of liberal and conservative values, but in some ways, it nonetheless operates beneath the previous motto “maintain Austin bizarre,” with the College of Texas at Austin house to a various scholar physique and the favored Texas Longhorns soccer staff.

Lengthy earlier than changing into a hub of main tech corporations — incomes it the nickname “Silicon Hills” — Austin drew settlers from Mexico and the USA across the time Texas turned an unbiased nation in 1836. Texas has stood beneath three flags with Austin as its capital: the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy and the USA of America. Although the town was largely centered across the capitol constructing accomplished in 1888, it later turned identified to many as a school city. For some years, the College of Texas at Austin was the most important college within the nation by enrollment.


Austin and the encompassing space have additionally been the taking pictures location for various well-known movies, together with Demise Proof from director Quentin Tarantino, Dazed and Confused — Matthew McConaughey’s first film position — and plenty of others. Although the town as soon as drew, and nonetheless does draw, many ravenous artists pursuing their passions, curiosity from main companies and their rich executives has begun to drive many natives and newbies alike out of the world as a consequence of rising hire and housing costs.

Because the inhabitants of Austin grows, gentrification and commuting occasions stay a big downside for a lot of residents. The primary freeway, Interstate 35 — which separates the downtown space from the freshly redeveloped East Austin — appears inadequately designed to accommodate the rising variety of Austinites, with some touring as much as 30 miles between their houses and workplaces. Town faces challenges together with an absence of publicly offered infrastructure for its homeless inhabitants, the way in which Austin’s land can be utilized, and different points endemic to the remainder of the USA.



Austin skyline. (Supply: Pexels)



Crypto tradition

Many Texans have a “don’t tread on me” strategy to native, state and federal governments telling them deal with their enterprise, their cash and their private life, regardless of the state exhibiting solely a lone star on its flag fairly than a snake. In some methods, Austin residents’ response to digital belongings since 2011 has been consultant of this mindset, with many leaping into the crypto area extra as an alternative choice to central banking fairly than a fad from the tech trade.

In accordance with Paul Snow, a self-described “technologist” who runs the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Meetup group in Austin and organizes the Texas Bitcoin Convention, the Texans who attend gatherings most constantly appear to be involved about “the state of the nation, and the state of banking and finance.” Snow says the group doesn’t concentrate on the most recent venture getting pumped and dumped, with many holding Bitcoin, Ether and SOL, though some are additionally advocates of Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

“[Our discussion] is mainly an actual broad evaluation of each challenge that’s both within the crypto area or closely inside the context of the crypto area. As a result of the crypto area is basically a problem to central banks, a minimum of in lots of people’s minds, then something that occurs in banking and finance is fascinating to us.”

Snow arrived in Austin in 2000 and began the Meetup teams in 2013, lengthy earlier than the U.S. authorities and Texas regulators turned their consideration to crypto corporations working within the metropolis. In mid-2021, the Texas State Securities Board filed for hearings in opposition to crypto lending agency BlockFi along with Celsius Community for allegedly providing unlicensed securities. Nevertheless, lawmakers within the state additionally handed laws the identical 12 months recognizing cryptocurrencies beneath business regulation.

Crypto additionally has a supporter within the type of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has hinted on social media that he desires the state to comply with Wyoming’s instance in passing extra crypto-friendly laws. When Texas grocery store chain H-E-B introduced in June 2021 that it will be putting in crypto ATMs, Abbott tweeted his approval, saying, “Texas would be the crypto chief.” Senator Ted Cruz has additionally not too long ago come out as a vocal crypto proponent.





Austin has beforehand hosted the SXSW Crypto Summit, Digital Belongings and Securities Convention, Texas Blockchain Summit, Texas Bitcoin Convention and Bear Arms N’ Bitcoin commerce present. Town can also be anticipated to be the house of the most important crypto-and blockchain-focused Consensus convention in June 2022.



Texas State Capitol constructing in Austin. Supply: Pexels



Tasks and corporations

Earlier than cryptocurrencies and blockchain know-how existed, Austin and the encompassing space had the situations to make it ripe for alternative for the best tech corporations. Pc producer Dell is positioned in close by Spherical Rock, and in October, Elon Musk introduced he can be transferring automotive producer Tesla’s headquarters near the town’s worldwide airport. Main tech corporations together with Fb, Google, IBM, Oracle and Hewlett Packard even have regional workplaces in Austin.

“There are simply so many various ranges the place crypto must be adopted and I feel that the municipalities that leap on early are going to take action a lot better than those who drag their toes,” says Snow.

“I don’t know if I’ve loads of hope for that at a governmental degree, however at a personnel degree and growth staff degree, I feel Austin is fairly thrilling they usually’ll do nicely.”

As soon as officers in China started cracking down on Bitcoin miners, many corporations relocated to Texas for its low-cost electrical energy and seemingly crypto pleasant laws. Austin is house to crypto mining agency Blockcap, however different mining corporations, together with Riot Blockchain and Bitdeer Group — an offshoot of Bitmain — have arrange store in close by Rockdale. Layer1 Applied sciences and Argo Blockchain additionally constructed mining amenities in West Texas.

Although many crypto exchanges and corporations providing monetary merchandise probably falling beneath the regulatory umbrella of the Securities and Trade Fee or the Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee have headquarters in the USA, the town of Austin itself appears to draw extra startups coping with safety and blockchain know-how than with shopping for and buying and selling tokens. Corporations similar to Pinata, Titan and Talos have workers primarily based within the metropolis, whereas Inveniam, Factom, Multicoin Capital, Horizen Labs and others have native workplaces.





Monetary infrastructure

In February 2014, the primary Robocoin Bitcoin ATM in Austin was put in at HandleBar, a bar positioned downtown. The launch of the machine was one of many first in the USA and preceded corporations like Coinsource and Bitcoin Depot inserting crypto ATMs in quite a lot of places across the capital metropolis along with the gradual acceptance of crypto funds for items and companies.





The place can I spend crypto?

Although bank cards, Apple Pay and money funds are nonetheless largely king in the USA, there are a lot of companies round Austin that settle for BTC, together with eating places, grocery shops and images studios. The grocery store chain H-E-B’s places in Austin don’t host crypto ATMs or settle for funds in Bitcoin or Ether but, however based on Coinmap, there are roughly 90 stores within the space that do settle for digital belongings.





In Austin, Starbucks, Residence Depot, Entire Meals and others settle for crypto funds by third-party apps. Apart from the most important retail chain shops, just a few eating places within the downtown space and Rainey Avenue Historic District, together with Mai Thai, enable Austinites to pay for his or her meals utilizing crypto. Nevertheless, many of those companies have shuttered within the final 12 months, probably as a result of pandemic.

Like Miami and New York Metropolis, Austin presently has its personal CityCoin constructed on Stacks, an open-source community of decentralized purposes and good contracts that use the Bitcoin blockchain as a programmable base layer. The initiative from CityCoins has acquired public help from each the mayors of Miami and NYC for his or her respective tokens, however Austin Mayor Steve Adler has not but endorsed a digital coin for the Texas capital metropolis.






The College of Texas at Austin presently presents programs on blockchain by the McCombs College of Enterprise and on using know-how in a decentralized economic system by its College of Data. College students at each UT Austin and St. Edward’s College had energetic cryptocurrency golf equipment previous to the pandemic, and Austin Group School partnered with IBM in 2019 as a part of an apprenticeship program geared toward coaching college students contemplating careers in blockchain and extra. Nevertheless, probably as a result of so many crypto and blockchain corporations have discovered a house in Texas, there are additionally further lessons hosted by non-public corporations now and again.



The College of Texas at Austin soccer recreation. Supply: Pexels

Controversies and collapses

Austin was as soon as the house of Ross Ulbricht, creator of the notorious darknet market Silk Highway. Working beneath the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” — an homage to the film The Princess Bride —Ulbricht began creating the positioning in 2010 after returning to Austin following his commencement from Penn State. He averted the authorities till his arrest in San Francisco in 2013.

Silk Highway allowed customers to purchase and promote illicit items similar to weapons and stolen bank card data, however most of the listings had been for unlawful medication, all of which drew the eye of the FBI. Since his arrest and conviction, Ulbricht is presently serving two life sentences with out the potential of parole. He was discovered responsible of cash laundering, pc hacking and conspiracy to visitors narcotics, however he nonetheless gives periodic analyses on the crypto market from jail.

Notable figures in Austin and former residents

Tesla CEO and Dogecoin proponent Elon Musk; Jimmy Music, a Bitcoin developer and crypto influencer identified for carrying a cowboy hat; Nathan Nichols, a board member of the Texas Blockchain Council; Jim Breyer, the enterprise capitalist behind Breyer Capital; Bitcoin Frankie, a crypto influencer and proprietor of Model Besties; and Ross Ulbricht, creator of the now-defunct Silk Highway darknet market. Cointelegraph staff members primarily based in Texas: Turner Wright, Rachel Wolfson and Ray Salmond

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