The Manhattan Community Board No. 2 (which covers the Greenwich Village, SoHo, NoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy area) unanimously refused permits for the Bitcoin Block Party, otherwise known as the "Decentralized Hip Hop Skateboard Block Party."
The block party, being planned for this Spring, is a coming together of the GMT Tavern, a bar and restaurant in the Village, and Cut Rush Creative Labs, a production company based in Brooklyn that supports the development of cryptocurrencies. It will be free and open to the public with many vendors, merchants and cryptocurrency developers to walk about.A
Why Refuse Permits to this Block Party?
On page 20 of the October 4, 2014 meeting's minutes, released earlier this week, the board details what they consider reasons why they should refuse the block party.
a. this event is proposed by a loose group of individuals who are supporters of decentralized currencies like Bitcoin to promote its use, and who are not a formal organization registered as a non-profit with either the State of New York or the IRS, and who primarily live in Brooklyn and have no “indigenous relationship” with this area[...]
This first reason is interesting because it brings up some kind of standard for 'indigenous relationship with the area;" however, earlier that Autumn, they had sponsored a Bleecker St. event with 'Teen Vogue,' with many fashion retailers who may have offices in New York City, but not in the area under CB No. 2's jurisdiction.
b. the involvement of GMT, a bar/restaurant at 142 Bleecker St is nothing more than a matter of convenience, and neither it nor any other business or resident in the area has an active role in planning or managing this event [...]
Again, in consideration for past events, merchants and retailers have not necessarily had to have a direct hand in the event, be they food stands or street vendors.
c. the committee can see no way in which this event is meaningfully tied to this community and is adamantly opposed to its occurrence in CB2, which is already chock-a-block with street closings throughout the year, and is particularly opposed to any further events closing Bleecker St. given its role as a primary east/west route through the West and Central Village,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that CB#2, Man. STRONGLY recommends DENIAL of this event on Bleecker St bet. Thompson St. & LaGuardia Pl.
Vote: Unanimous, with 37 Board members in favor
It is obvious that these decisions seem to be very hypocritical. Especially considering that final point, we will have to see if Community Board No. 2 will maintain their own informal policy on opposing "any further events closing Bleecker St."
Events like this Bitcoin block party are going to be crucial in growing the consumer and large-scale basis of the crypto-community. And yet, this is another example of how the crypto-community has not yet reached a very high level of legitimacy in the eyes of the public nor the discretion of the government.
With the State of New York's Department of Financial Services still mulling over their approach to the BitLicense (even as Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky considers stepping down) and public policy on the matter being debated on the state and national level in the US and around the world, 2015 will a year for huge growth both in development and public opinion.
Images from Cut Rush Creative Labs and Shutterstock.