The Longest New York Minute

By Benjamin Davis

The only thing that moves slow in New York City is data.

In this day and age, data is everything. Most of the interactions you have with other people will simply be your data passing across their computer screen. You might not think it, but your data is essential to living in the world today. Without your data, you can’t open a bank account; you can’t travel, or buy a car, or even rent an apartment. With New York being the most populous city in the United States with approximately 8.5 million residents, that is a whole lot of data.

With the advent of Bitcoin and blockchain technology the way we store, send, and manage data is changing, but the businesses of NYC are reluctant to change with it.

Take for example, renting an apartment. First, you have the application which includes all of your personal information that then has to be verified. Then, you must prove your income (not to mention the application fee). After that, you have your credit check, background check, landlord references, co-signer application, and finally, your lease. That is a lot of data, and currently this data moves in and out of outdated systems, waiting for approvals, relying on lost-and-not-always-found e-mails, human error, etc. Even worse, much of the time this information is still gathered using paper applications.

This process is like that old car you insist on keeping on the road. It still gets you from A to B, most of the time. The radio only gets three stations, but that’s okay; it’s comfortable, you know the feeling of it, and you are used to holding the wheel a bit off-center because the tires are not quite aligned. Why learn something new when the old still has two out of four working cup holders?

While some might call this nostalgia or frugality, others like Chaim Lowenstein of ManageGo, a service that has recently opened up the possibility for New Yorkers to pay their rent in Bitcoin, believe that those who are not implementing new technologies will be left behind: “Companies aren’t looking at innovation, ManageGo is innovating. It will eventually become a standard. It is only a matter of time.”

Lowenstein also stresses the need for companies to hunt down the experts, tackle new challenges, and embrace new ideas. While this mind-set might seem obvious to some, fixing up that old car is time consuming and expensive. The innovators are coming, whether the past wants them or not. When they get here, they will cruise by the remains of outdated thinkers, still sitting in that old car full of snickers wrappers, half-drank coffees, and 15-tons of poorly filled-out, unverified paperwork.

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