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Press Release

NYCEDC, NYC Talent and CUNY Queens College Launch NYC Node, A Blockchain Applied Learning Program and New York City's First Blockchain Infrastructure Investment

Apr 08 2024
Blockchain Initiative

NYC Node is Designed to Introduce CUNY Students and Faculty to Blockchain, Provide Research and Hands-On Learning for them to Leverage Opportunities in the Emerging Industry

The Program Underscores New York City’s Commitment to Growing Emerging Sectors and Strengthening Workforce Pipelines

QUEENS, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the Tech Talent Pipeline within the Mayor's Office of Talent and Workforce Development (NYC Talent) and the Tech Incubator at CUNY Queens College (TIQC) today announced the launch of NYC Node, an applied learning program and New York City’s first investment in blockchain infrastructure to run the blockchain node housed at TIQC. NYC Node will provide hands-on learning, workshops, and research resources for over 200 students and faculty across the CUNY network. Blockchain nodes are devices that participate in a blockchain network for data decentralization and security. 

NYCEDC, NYC Talent and CUNY Queens College invested to create the NYC Node program – including Ethereum node equipment funding such as central processing unit (CPU), a motherboard, and graphics card. NYC Node advances Mayor Adams’ Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery by further diversifying the economy by investing in future-focused industries with connections to CUNY students and faculty and accelerating the growth of these emerging sectors. 

“New York City is the financial capital of the world, and with programs like NYC Node, we are providing students with the tools and hands-on experience needed to pursue careers in the blockchain industry, as well as spark new research and cutting-edge innovation in this sector,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “NYCEDC looks forward to seeing our partners at NYC Talent and CUNY prepare the next generation of New Yorkers with the relevant skills and experience needed to contribute to the future of finance and continue to grow the blockchain sector in New York City.” 

“NYC Node is a groundbreaking partnership with the Tech Talent Pipeline, NYCEDC, and Queens College that will enhance the existing CUNY 2X Tech portfolio by creating New York City pathways to careers in the Blockchain industry,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Executive Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development. “This will grow and expand our Tech Innovation in Education Agenda, offering CUNY students a chance to learn and earn while working on cutting edge Blockchain technology and providing employers access to top notch talent for in-demand jobs.” 

“Understanding blockchain infrastructure is essential to the future of our economy and financial wellness. I am glad to see that the future leaders of the City, our CUNY students, leading this initiative. As Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, I look forward to continuing to work with the NYCEDC on more innovative ways to use Blockchain to support New York City’s economy on both a local and citywide scale,” said Council Member Amanda Farías. 

“Queens has the potential to become the nation’s next great tech hub — potential my office is working hard to harness every day. With today’s launch of the vital NYC Node program, we are taking a massive step forward toward realizing that goal by empowering all those associated with our CUNY system and breaking down barriers to the tech sector,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I look forward to working with NYCEDC and all our committed partners as we uplift our youth and ensure the tech jobs of tomorrow are filled today by CUNY students from across Queens and this city.” 

“The archival node offers a powerful tool for researchers and students to access and analyze historical data on the Ethereum Blockchain,” said Queens College Program Director, Joan Nix, Ph.D.  “It will offer hands-on learning to our students, which is highly valued by employers who apply this innovative technology. It places Queens College alongside many top universities in offering such an incredible opportunity."  

As the financial capital of the world, the City of New York sees NYC Node’s potential to bridge the gap between blockchain technology’s capabilities and use cases for financial institutions. NYC Node aims to facilitate compliant, direct connections to blockchains for highly regulated institutions while providing work experience for CUNY students to run these nodes. 

NYC Node will arm the next generation of CUNY students and New York’s workforce with the relevant skills and applied experience to contribute to the future of finance in the city. NYC Node will expand the capabilities of companies, with operations in NYC, to integrate and monetize public blockchains. NYC Node will run on a semesterly basis moving forward, welcoming students from all schools in the CUNY network to participate. 

The program was conceived by Joshua Gottlieb, a CUNY Queens College alumnus. Four current CUNY students built this project from scratch: Baldwin Cepeda of Queens College, Daniel Chrostowski of Hunter College, Jeremy Oppenheimer of Baruch College, and Jonathan Shields of York College. Next, the students will open-source NYC Node to enable further collaboration from other students across CUNY and the broader blockchain developer ecosystem.  

The NYC Node initiative will also receive support from Lendvest, a member of the Chainlink BUILD program, who will create an inclusive blockchain agnostic strategy to create nodes and index DeFi data for other chains. Additionally, Polyhedra Network, the team building the next generation of secure and scalable zero-knowledge (ZK) proof infrastructure, is assisting with technical research on the required number of confirmations for settlement across different blockchains. Olympix, based in NYC, is providing its industry-leading static code analysis tool to empower CUNY students to build secure applications.  

“NYC Node is the first blockchain project jointly sponsored by the Tech Incubator at Queens College (TIQC), as a key component of the Blockchain Accelerator at TIQC. We look forward to supporting more blockchain related projects and initiatives across CUNY,” said Ying Zhou, Executive Director of the Tech Incubator at Queens College.  

“NYC is committed to growing its blockchain sector in a way that simultaneously prepares CUNY students for careers in the field,” said Robert Domanski, Ph.D., Dean of Academic Innovation and Outcomes, Hunter College

"Honored to be involved in the launch of the Ethereum Node at the Tech Incubator at Queens College", said Michael M. Wechsler, Esq., Adjunct Professor at Queens College, "a unique cross-CUNY collaboration of distinguished students, alumni, faculty, and advisors, with special thanks to the NYCEDC for championing such innovation."  

“Providing an Ethereum archival node for students and researchers to study data science and financial technology is as meaningful as providing a cadaver to study human anatomy.  There is no better way to know how something works than to study the exact thing in a safe environment," said Dan McCloskey, Professor and Chair of Psychology at CUNY College of Staten Island and Graduate Center.  

“The project that I have the honor of serving as an Advisor to, spear-headed by the Tech Incubator at Queens College, is a true example of a proactive and forward-thinking partnership between academia, students, and the private sector. By bringing together the CUNY system, academic experts, and leaders from the industry this project is set to provide students with much-needed real world training and education around these topics, will create thought leadership content that can be used to educate others, and will help create a self-sustaining community of individuals connected by an interest and affinity for these world changing technologies,” said Dr. Sean Stein Smith, Chair of Accounting Working Group, Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, Board of Advisors - Wall Street Blockchain Alliance . 

“Polyhedra Network believes that future growth of blockchain applications depends heavily on continued investment in space and the next generation. We're honored to be part of the NYC Node program and provide data services for CUNY developers,” said Eric Vreeland, Chief Strategy Officer at Polyhedra Network

New York City is ranked as the number two global tech ecosystem and is home to over 25,000 tech enabled startups. The tech ecosystem employs over 355,000 people, having grown by over 30% in the last decade.

About NYCEDC  
New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city's future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About NYC Talent 
The Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development (“NYC Talent”) is responsible for the City’s talent and workforce development system that benefits city residents, employers, and the economy. Although we do not issue contracts directly, we partner closely with City agencies and entities that do. NYC Talent seeks new and effective ways to scale and sustain productive public/private partnerships; to develop and match talent to promising careers; to align its education, career preparation and skills training programs across City government; and to coordinate program and fiscal data across stakeholders to provide a comprehensive view of the talent system with the goal of making progress towards the citywide employment objectives laid out in Executive Order #22. 

About CUNY Queens College
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college has consistently been cited by Princeton Review as one of America’s Best Value Colleges, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit our homepage to learn more.