end, CBP has taken advantage of its headquarters in Chicago’s 1871 incubator
space, which has 1,500 members and has seeded more than 500 companies in the
city’s massive Merchandise Mart. The ecosystem of college programs, developers,
venture capitalists and startups works in a collaborative workspace to learn
and support the blockchain community. CBP also taps the growing local tech Meetup community.
the fierce global competition for capital and talent, CBP’s growth has been
impressive. Founded in May of last year, the group has grown to 2,200 members,
according to Alla Adam, a co-founder.
on “increasing the rate at which the world moves toward sustainability,” CBP “will aid selected viable projects that use continual
systems and methods for producing sustainable products/services,” according to
Joe Hernandez, CBP's founder who goes by the moniker “Disruption Joe.”
CBP, Hernandez said, is focusing 90 percent of its activity
on helping blockchain entrepreneurs and developers “reach the next level. The
other 10 percent is connecting them to the resources they need.”
came to CBP from Urban Array, which partners with underserved communities on
Chicago’s South and West Sides on tech startups by providing technology that
allows them to “share knowledge, processes and resources.”
venture, for example, gives builders equity for rehabbing homes. He discovered
blockchain technology through his interest in Ethereum and Bitcoin.
connecting developers, artists and others to educate about blockchain
[technology],” said Hernandez, “We want the Chicago Blockchain Project to be a global
Chicago has a burgeoning tech community in its former meatpacking district
(anchored by a Google satellite office) and thriving business incubator
network, of which 1871 is the hub, it faces long odds on usurping the
blockchain title from other leading cities. Chicago is ranked fourth in this
regard by Forbes, and it was found to employ fewer
than 200 people. New York is the leader, with more than 1,300 blockchain job
Chicago is home to a vibrant group of corporate headquarters, venture capital
and angel investing community, big money for startups tends to gravitate to the
coasts. The recent $65 million funding of blockchain and crypto startup Paxos, formerly itBit, was raised by New
York-based venture capital firms.
the State of Illinois also has been experiencing outmigration. For a bevy of
reasons, the state lost nearly 40,000 residents in 2017, dropping it from the fifth-
to the sixth-most populous state (after Pennsylvania), according to the U.S.
Census Bureau. (The overall U.S. population grew by more than 2 million people
during the year.)
makes CBP founders optimistic? Because Chicago tends to fly under the radar in
the tech world, it has a chance to be a surprising upstart.
Francisco and New York are overheated,” said Adam. She noted that Chicago
provides a robust ecosystem of colleges, incubators and talent. “Investors want
the ecosystem,” she said.
ecosystem, based on recent developments, is growing fast. Facebook recently announced that it is expanding its workforce
in Chicago along with Google, which has its Midwest headquarters on the city’s
near-West side. The Obama Presidential Center is slated to open on Chicago’s South
Side in 2021. And the city is still a candidate for the Amazon 2.0 headquarters.
blockchain developers are also gaining support from the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, a state-sponsored agency, and the Chicago Blockchain Center, which is also partnering with the CME
Group, one of the world’s largest derivatives exchanges, and other city-based