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Q&A: Cryptocurrency And How The Business Fits in Connecticut

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A new company is heading to Connecticut with the promise of hundreds more jobs.

Digital Currency Group is moving from New York City to Stamford. DCG describes itself as a leading investor in Bitcoin and Blockchain technology companies.

That's very different from the manufacturing sector, which the governor has been pushing for more of in our state.

But he says cryptocurrency is a good match for Connecticut.

"We are a financial center. It's not just very you know what, we haven't banks, but we have insurance, but we have a hedge fund. So you're going to find a very welcome ground here," Lamont said.

"The fact that you're here in Stamford is part of a greater ecosystem as you point out what we're doing right down there at University of Connecticut in terms of, you know, digital transformation and training when you've got a partner here in the government. Make sure you never have to look hard to get the very best talent that you need," he added.

Technology expert Lon Seidman sat down with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran to talk about what this emerging business could bring.

Dan: "Cryptocurrency has been gaining steam over the past few years, but I don't think everyone knows exactly what it is. So what is it?"

Seidman: "It can be complex, but I think at its core, it's two things in my mind. At the moment, it is a store of value where you can invest money into and have those dollars or that value held someplace. And your hope is that it would increase in value over time. And the other side of it beyond the investment side is the technology, which is that you have essentially a ledger that records every transaction going across these different cryptocurrencies in a very public way, you can actually see these Bitcoins move from one place to the other, and it is encrypted in a way that it is almost impossible to hack. So it's something that is trusted by the people that are participating inside of those markets. And so there's a lot of potential just beyond the money side of it, that I think these technologies have a lot of opportunities for."

Dan: "A lot of interest, for sure, thanks for helping us understand it a bit better. So let's talk about the news of the day, the Digital Currency Group that's coming to Stamford is going to get $5 million from the state contingent on whether they can create and retain those 300 full-time jobs within five years. Do you think this industry is something that will still be around in five years? Is this just a phase? Or is this the future?"

Seidman: "If you asked me 10 years ago, I would say it's probably a phase, but I think like a lot of the Internet technologies that we have today, they've kind of taken root, when you look at, you know, other stores of value, whether it's gold or real estate or something along those lines, you know, cryptocurrencies are a lot more accessible to everybody. And I think there's a tremendous market potential. And I think there's a lot of potential in the underlying technology. So I think it's a good opportunity for the state."

Dan: "Yeah, what kind of message do you think it sends that Connecticut will now be home to this cryptocurrency company?"

Seidman: "I think it's probably a good match for the state. I think we've had a lot of financial companies and insurance companies in the past as well take route here. So it's, I think it's a very natural progression of our state's heritage, especially in the financial and insurance sectors. And this is a new direction, in a similar kind of industry. And it's kind of exciting to see to see where it goes now."

Dan: "For those of us who are still a bit unsure about digital currency, what would you tell people if this was something they're seriously considering as an investment?"

Seidman: "Well, I would be the last person you want to get investment advice from but I would say that for everyone, you know, having a trusted financial advisor is very important because there's a lot of good opportunities in cryptocurrencies, but there's just as many frauds and scams and other things going on at the same time."