• Decasonic

Web3 Investor Day: Crypto in Chicago

With Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor of Chicago, Gabriella Kusz, CEO of Global DCA, Ben Weiss, CEO of CoinFlip, Mike Peri, of Distributed Ventures


Watch the panel here


By Alejandro Ballesteros, Venture Investor, Decasonic


Gabriella Kusz, from DCA, Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor, Ben Weiss, Co-founder of CoinFlip, and Mike Peri from Distributed Ventures had an incredibly insightful conversation around the factors that make the Chicago Crypto ecosystem so unique and strategically positioned to build the next generation of mainstream blockchain use cases.


Diversity Drives Web3 in Chicago


The Chicago ecosystem is an incredibly diverse ecosystem that has a mix of technologists, law professionals, marketing experts, and pretty much any other discipline you need to draw talent from to create a large and impactful company. As a result, it is no surprise that many people are choosing to strategically locate themselves in Chicago and build their company here. The quote that stands out the most is from Ben Weiss on this subject:


“This city has all the foundation and talent pool you need to build a great company. Chicago is the most diversified economy in the entire country. Even in crypto, you need finance people, you need lawyers, you need people from marketing. We have an administration that’s done a lot of things to make companies want to be here; this city is at the front lines of engagement and outreach”


Gabriella Kusz illustrated that this diversity of talent and perspectives was an extremely foundational factor in the DCA choosing to be based out of Chicago:“We benefit from having those types of diverse viewpoints and that diversity is really what’s beautiful about raising up an industry. From outside it was really a no brainer to be here in Chicago..There’s a lot that’s here to draw upon.”


As Samir points out, these positives are evident through Google’s recent commitment to purchase the Thompson Center for $105M and repurpose it as their regional HQ. The purchase is the largest corporate real estate purchase in the history of Chicago. He also echoed the city’s commitment to transform that stretch of corporate real estate in the Loop into a more innovative and burgeoning environment.


Values Driven Economy


In Chicago, we are driven by our values. Key among these values are inclusivity and sustainability: Chicago is the most climate resilient city in the country and maintains much more progressive ideals than the troubling and limiting legislation currently being passed in other states. As Mike Peri and Ben stated:


“What we do in this community is all about building it from the ground up and engaging with everyone regardless of their background or experience.”


“With crypto and Web3, inclusivity is at the ethos of that. Traditionally the legacy financial system wasn’t always the most inclusive thing and crypto has leveled the playing field. At our kiosk you don't even need a bank account to buy crypto. This is a city that wants to bring people up and make sure that everyone is part of this growth.”


Tackling Inclusivity in Web3


The participants also shed some light on strategies they believe will lead to more inclusive Web3 adoption, a problem that the industry is constantly under scrutiny for.

The Investment the city is making in the south and west side amounts to $2B. The focus is on really tackling inequality in these areas. FTX is launching the Chicago Future Fund’s Pilot, a large private sector UBI program that sets up 100 formerly incarcerated residents with a $500 FTX wallet and a debit card. Simultaneously, CoinFlip is launching a venture fund that seeks to focus investments on Chicago based underrepresented founders.


It is truly inspirational to see how all of these companies give back and invest in the community to ensure inclusive and equitable growth for generations to come.